2012-04-03

If We Were a Rich Church

I do love being a Unitarian Universalist. I own the label "Unitarian Universalist," so that I can help the world know that there is such a place, and know what I’m all about. As my colleague, Rev. Kimi Riegel, put it:
“I love being a Unitarian Universalist and I'm not going to be quiet or shy about it any more. As a kid I was a shy Unitarian Universalist. I guess I figured since we weren't as big as the Presbyterian Church down the street we weren't as good. I didn't tell my friends about our wonderful church, its exciting heritage or the challenge it offers each of us. But I’ve come to believe this is the faith of the future, as well as the past, and it’s O.K. to be proud. It is exciting to be a Unitarian Universalist.”
I love being a Unitarian Universalist, not because we can believe anything we want. Spiritual deepening isn’t about what you want. It’s about discovering what you are called to – a calling which you can hear only if you quiet down the ego’s cacophony of what it wants. It’s not about what ego wants to believe. It’s about what you find within yourself that you have to believe. I love being a Unitarian Universalist because whatever it is that you find you have to believe, that will be respected and honored here.

On the other side of the coin, I love being a Unitarian Universalist because I am called to relationships of accountability. That discernment of what our spirits call us to believe and do cannot be a solitary task. We cannot go it alone.

We need each other because we humans have such an amazing capacity to fool ourselves. We need others to check in with, to ask us questions, to hold the mirror up so we can see ourselves. We need relationships of accountability -- and we need those relationships to exist within a context of respect for diversity. That’s why I love being a Unitarian Universalist – so much that if it didn’t exist we would have to invent it.

I love being a part of all that we do – our dangerous bastion, and our groups that bring people together to explore and grow, our worship and music, our work together for peace and justice.

This fellowship is not a rich church. We may be rich in tradition, rich in talents, rich in people, rich in wisdom and experience. Our budget, however, is modest.

Personally, I don’t hanker to be any wealthier than I am. But I when it comes to our fellowship, I do find myself resonating with Tevye – the poor milkman in “Fiddler on the Roof”: "What would have been so terrible if we had a small fortune?"

Sing along! Substitute the words below.
(Play first 1:35, then skip to the 3:50 point.)
(
If we were a rich church, UU,UU,UU, UU,UU,UU,UU,U
I would be a happy one indeed, if we were a wealthy church.
Wouldn't have to worry, UU,UU,UU, UU,UU,UU,UU,U
If we were a biddy, biddy rich, UU,UU,UU,UU church

We’d build a great big new social hall, and expand all the classrooms for our kids.
No one would say we don’t have room to meet.
There would be much more staff for Lifespan Development
Offering classes every day
Meeting the needs of families and kids.

We’d give the first 10 percent of all that we had to support social justice in the world.
Think of all the homeless we could feed.
There would be funds galore to fix up the building, and add on if we should grow
And money left to host our own TV show.

If we were a rich church, UU,UU,UU, UU,UU,UU,UU,U
We could better fill the member’s needs, If we were a wealthy church.
Wouldn't have to worry, UU,UU,UU,UU,UU,UU,UU,U
All the world would start to turn around
if we had a wealthier stance in town,
We would spread love all over this earth
If we were a wealthy church!
(Thanks much to Sheri DiGiovanna, whose UU lyrics I modified for this version.)

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Part 2 of "Celebrate!"
Next: Part 3: "The Thing to Do with One Glove"
Beginning: Part 1: "Unitarian Universalism: Welcome Home!"