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Showing posts from December, 2012

Someone has to say it out loud

Today's political conservatism is inconsistent with religious liberalism, and in particular, with Unitarian Universalism.

That's the first thing that must be said out loud.

It is not because Unitarian Universalism has become intolerant; it is because today's political conservatism, as embodied by the Republican Party, opposes the core value of religious liberalism: the reverence that is due to each person and the seamless reality of the universe.

Religious liberalism and political conservatism have diverged only recently. There used to be many Unitarian Republicans who were "socially liberal, fiscally conservative."  Such a stance is no longer possible in the real world.  The present Republican Party is whole-heartedly committed to reactionary social policy, especially patriarchy, white nationalism, and heterosexual privilege.  Social liberalism is being systematically purged from the Republican Party.

And fiscal conservatism? Today's political conservatism …

Institutionalized Love

Elie Wiesel says “the opposite of Love is not hate, but indifference.”
This statement is the key to understanding the public and social theology of Love.
Human beings know love.  Most have experienced it.  Most can tell when it is present and when it is absent.  Because of its universality, we can use love as a transcendent point of judgement in creating a common understanding of the social good.  What enacts, embodies and encourages love is what is good.  What impedes it is not good.  This does not answer every question; there is room for serious discussion of what encourages and what discourages love, but it gives us a commonly understood premise, because we all know what love is.  
“God’s Will” and “Justice” are not commonly understood experiences, in that each requires training into a tradition to access their meaning.
Our social task is to “institutionalize Love.” To create the human institutions of government, economics and civil society that operate routinely on the principles of l…

Barack Obama: Liberal Theologian

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President Obama’s statement at the Newtown Prayer Vigil made some theological assertions that are of interest.  
He begins by quoting “Scripture” -- his quote is from 2 Corinthians 4:16-5:1, a passage of consolation, in which Paul contrasts his own earthly suffering with the ultimate prospect of being raised with Jesus.  Paul’s second letter is haunted by his unnamed affliction and his sense that his life has been threatened by it.  Disease?  But the image is compelling:  our earthly tent is being destroyed, but we have a building from God, a house not made by human hands, eternal in heaven. 
Obama's choice of text suggests a metaphorical approach to these mass shootings: they are a disease, an affliction, even a sign of wasting away. 
He then tells his audience that they are not alone; the nation grieves with them.  He tells them that the courage of the school staff and the students at Sandy Hook have inspired the nation.
And then, he establishes a basic contradiction: “In the face o…

Pushed, Fallen or Flown Away?

Pushed, Fallen or Flown Away? December 2, 2012
First Unitarian Church, Worcester
Tom Schade


Scripture:
The Birth of Jesus Foretold
26 In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, 27 to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. 28 And he came to her and said, “Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you.” 29 But she was much perplexed by his words and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. 30 The angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. 31 And now, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you will name him Jesus. 32 He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his ancestor David. 33 He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.” 34 Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I am a virgin?” 35 The angel said to her, “T…