In What Do You Place Your Faith?

"Faith is taking the first step, even when you don't see the whole stair case." Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr

“Faith is taking the first step, even when you don’t see the whole stair case.” Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr

The Soul Matters Theme for February – Faith

Faith is a tricky word for Unitarian Universalists, since we don’t have a creed that articulates the nature of a higher power. What do you place your trust in and work towards, even though there are no guarantees? Look for and let your children know about the graffiti boards in the upstairs and basement hallways for children, youth and adults to share their ideas about UU faith.

The Soul Matters Sharing Circle is made up of numerous UU congregations that follow the same monthly themes for ministry and programming. Here is the essay on Faith from Soul Matters

This we know: Unitarian Universalism calls us to be faithful doubters. Be cautious, says our tradition. Do not automatically believe what you’ve been told, especially when someone asks you to believe it based on their authority. Test it. Put it through the fire of your own experience, your precious power to reason and the gift of the scientific method. Yes, be cautious, bravely so.

But be reckless as well. This too is what our tradition equally lifts up when it comes to faith. Faithfully doubt, but right alongside that push yourself to faithfully leap. And again, bravely so. This second meaning of being a people of faith is what we lean into this month.

Simply put, UU faithfulness is not just about doubting what we’ve been told, but trusting what can be. The arc of the universe bends towards justice. The societal problems we face are not greater than our collective power to solve them. The personal burdens we carry are not greater than our capacity to overcome and grow from them. Life can be better. We can be more. These are all statements of faith that can’t always easily be backed up by objective proof, air-tight logic or personal experience. And yet we lean into them anyway. We risk living as though they were true.

And we do so because something inside us or around us whispers, “There is more.” Not necessarily more in the sense of an invisible world or reality beyond this one, but more in the sense of what’s possible. As William Sloane Coffin captures so well, new and greater realities are not something one believes in as much as something that one creates by taking a leap. We convince ourselves that life can’t be trusted, that people will let us down, that this is as good as it gets. And then a hunger rises up in us that says “act anyway,” “trust anyway,” “fear not,” “try again.” In this sense, our tradition challenges doubt. Some doubts are healthy; other doubts keep us small. Don’t trust the impulse to stay small, says our tradition. Listen deeply to life’s mystical whispers about there being more.

In other words, faith is an invitation, more so than a statement of belief. It’s not so much something we have or think, as something that happens to us. So this month, friends, let faith lure you into new life. Doubt the voices trying to convince us of the logic of staying small. Know that life wants more from us and for us. Know that there is a mystical urge in us and around us that does not want us to be satisfied with the way things are or remain shriveled in the safety of small living. Listen for the faith-full whispers. Take a leap! Grow wings!