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First Things September 2012

December 18, 2012

How did you come to be the spiritual person you are today?  Here’s my story:


I was raised Methodist but stopped going to church as a teen-ager.


In the 1980’s I worked at AIDS Project Los Angeles.  The constant deaths of friends and co-workers, and my own vulnerability, confronted me with spiritual questions of mortality and meaning.  I dealt with my questions through art and music.  In 1990 a friend took me to the Unitarian Universalist church in Santa Monica and I realized my  spiritual explorations had missed the essential aspect of community.


The lack of response from the government during the early years of AIDS awakened my passion for social justice, and the history of Unitarian Universalism showed me that political activism could also be spiritual.


I entered seminary in 1995 as an atheist because the only God-beliefs I knew made no sense to me.  In seminary I learned a theology that did make sense, Process Theology (developed in part by a Unitarian Universalist named Charles Hartshorne) and I became a theist.

Our spiritual beliefs come from many sources:  personal experience, like my work with AIDS; and inspiring elders, like the teachers I encountered in seminary.  The UUA recognizes those two sources plus Judaism and Christianity, other world religions, humanist philosophy and science, and earth-centered spirituality.


Over the next year we will look at the sources of our faith beginning with our most direct religious ancestry:  Judaism and Christianity.  From each source we will name what particular gifts that source leaves to us.  And I’ll challenge all of us to be more conscious about not only what we believe, but why.

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