Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Be Spiritual - Episode 8

Bob Keating grew up in the Congregational church, amidst a loving and caring community that he fondly recalls. However, the stories of God commanding Abraham to sacrifice his son and Jesus dying to atone for our sins created an undercurrent to a theology of a loving God. Both stories bothered Bob and affected him more than he would recognize for years.

A good friend's invitation led Bob and Hilary, his wife, to the Unitarian Universalist Church of Nashua. There he found the theology consistent with his ethical underpinnings and the people as warm and caring as the Congregational community of his youth.

Contemplating the timeless religious questions, Bob concludes that the answers are unknowable. Instead, his focus has been plumbing the UU Principles, which he considers the glue binding the diversity within and across our UU congregations. The principles provide a unifying vision for a Buddhist, a Christian, and a Pagan to sit in the same pew — a seemingly unlikely religious community.

Bob's study of Unitarian Universalism has led him on frequent pilgrimages to western New Hampshire, to the birthplaces of Hosea Ballou, an early and influential Universalist minister, and the Winchester Profession, a declaration of faith developed by the Universalists in 1803. Departing from the theology requiring atonement, Universalists believed that God was loving and that all souls would be saved and arrive in heaven.

Listen to our conversation using the above audio player or download the mp3 file here. You may also listen and subscribe to the podcast via iTunes.

We welcome your feedback, which you may leave by posting a comment on the blog or by sending an e-mail to comments at bespiritual dot info.

Our theme music is Floating Souls by Ambrish, courtesy of the Podsafe Music Network. The chalice artwork was created by Inga Johannesen, of the UU Church of Chattanooga, Tennessee.

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