I am a parish minister currently serving the Eliot Church of Natick MA. Eliot Church is a Community Church affiliated with the Unitarian Universalist Association and the United Church of Christ. Any statements made and postions held in "Unity," however, are solely mine(of course, they may be used with appropriate atribution). Therefore if you disagree, please do not blame the church!

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

I'm Back!

Well, I am back from vacation and, like many of my clergy colleagues, recovering from the post-Christmas crash. I, at least, always get sick either before or after Christmas. Last year I had a raging ear infection and couldn't hear during Christmas Eve services. This year I lost my voice at the beginning of the second service and it still hasn't completely returned...

Today, though, I'm not thinking so much about Christmas as the problem of evil. The New York Times today had an article about the Catholic discussions concerning the status of Limbo. As a Universalist Christian, obviously, this doesn't exactly impact my theology much. However, it does make one think.

I have also noticed in the news a variety of truly shocking and violent crimes. I do not have to tell you what they are as you probably have similar stories in the paper where you live (if you live in Metrowest, MA, you have the same ones as me).
Such events, I think, challenge religious liberals who too often have a rather rosy perspective on bad things.

It is hard, when I see what is going on here and elsewhere to subscribe to the "People are too good to be damned" argument. I am sure that many folks would agree with me and yet our actions seem to assume our own goodness much of the time. We are cruel to each other and we are cruel to the earth we live on often because we cannot get our minds around "our" good (what we feel we need) not being "the" good. Enron (and so forth) may be getting a bit cliched as an example but, of course, it is. There are others, too.

Fortunately, as a Universalist I can say with Thomas Starr King (paraphrasing) that "God is too good to damn people." The first idea promotes a sort of triumphalism that I, at least, do not feel. This one reminds us to seek forgiveness for our imperfections and, possibly, even to do something positive about them. God's goodness, if we fully recognize it, should draw us to our better selves and to make us work to bring others into the broad and welcoming path toward a good life.

OK, we still have a few days to make resolutions...