What we believe, experience, and appreciate.
I call myself a “Religious Naturalist Mystic.” I believe firmly in the need for vibrant religious community. I find great inspiration in nature. I also am open to mystery, imbued with a humble awareness there is more to the universe than human knowing can fully fathom. The religious side of me reveres covenanted communities to share joy and sorrow, companions with whom to enter into the search for truth. Herein lies my love of worship and congregational life. I revel in the way we test what we say and how we say it. We make meaning together, we stand for truth and justice together, we have fun together, and we comfort one another.
The naturalist in me loves walks in the woods, imbibing those insights derived from contemplating nature, and the observations through the lens of science to discern how the world works. This belies a love of experience, the knowledge that life happens now, recognizing that ‘knowing’ is embodied. Our feelings, intuitions, passions and appetites are also divine gifts to be nurtured and enriched. We live and love with our whole selves, cast onto this Earth to which we owe our very lives, tasked to preserve it for the seventh generation to follow.
The mystic in me intuits there are ways of knowing beyond language and reason, beyond science and philosophy. This knowing is ancient and powerful, and as such it resists explanation, though we can describe it, praise it, feel it. This is what I call “embodied theology” - our experiences of truth formed through our living and our striving. The mystical side of me loves music and poetry, meditation and dance. It revels in song and the mystery of life and chance human encounters. It seeks divinity in the mundane, beauty in the ordinary, magic in the moment. It nods to the things that are inscrutable, beholding their beauty with a smile.
The spirit of life that holds us, nurtures us, and brings us into being resides in the creative potential of every moment of our lives. Acknowledging we all have differing spiritual understandings calls us to be in relationship, to remain open and curious. I love to hear people express their truth. I treat opportunities to hear from folks whose theologies differ from mine as new chances to encounter the Holy. These are learning moments, and I cherish the gift to hear someone else share what they find to be of Ultimate Concern by listening deeply and withholding judgment. Our salvation, however we define that term, requires our presence, engagement and honesty. Without one another we are diminished.
I use spiritual practice to experience what I call the holy, god, beauty, and ultimate being. My theological orientation draws from the process theology of Whitehead and the theocentric naturalism of Henry Nelson Weiman. I believe Emerson did well to express the experience of the holy as a metamorphosis of sorts (as he does in the oversoul,) and I appreciate Weiman’s treatment of the holy as a creative process that we can partner with, to bring forth what is good and necessary.
This creative partnership happens in relationship. This is why the religious community is essential. A community dedicated to the spiritual arts is a creative enterprise, encouraging relationship - relationships between individuals and their own understanding of truth, relationships between individuals and the spark of their conscience, and relationships between individuals, families, and groups, that evolve with the dual aims of care and challenge. The space of meeting, where we meet our true self or the true self of another, is holy ground. Congregations are one of the spaces that encourage us to trust that holy ground.
Within and beyond the congregation, my theology produces the dual callings toward justice and mercy, and may be best expressed by both the biblical phrase from exodus, “You shall not wrong a stranger or oppress him, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt,” as well as the Nguni Bantu term, “Ubuntu,” which literally means “I am because you are.” These philosophies draw us into relationship with one another, and demand that we see that relationship as elemental. I just as easily say “we are all children of god,” as I say “Namaste” (The light in me sees the light in you.) I wholeheartedly live as if we all have inherent worth and dignity, no exceptions.
REV. SCOTT AND ANYA
Our theological presentation and theological strengths are complimentary in the sense that we do not contradict one another, but we cover more theological ground as a team. In addition, we do not believe that there are any theologies found within Unitarian Universalism with which we cannot find some sympathy and understanding. All are expressions of truth in the universalist sense, and each expression is worthy of consideration.