This I Believe

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All nine of us who serve as Worship Associates at the UU Church of Nashua (NH) will be sharing what we believe during this morning’s service.

All nine of us in under 60 minutes. We need to allow time for opening and closing hymns, an outreach offering, Spirit of Life. That leaves only two to three minutes for each of us to crisply articulate whatever “answers” we have found to the spiritual questions that all of us ponder throughout our lives.

I thought I would share my own thoughts with you, since I’m usually asking others what they believe.

Kim Crawford Harvie, Minister of the Arlington Street Church in Boston, spells G*d with an asterisk. This asterisk is nice shorthand to reflect the conundrum of my religious wonderings since I became skeptical of the paternalistic view of the divine, the concept of God I was raised with.

And while it’s easy for me to reject that view, it’s not as easy for me to say that there is no divinity.

Our rational minds, thinking both logically and abstractly, and enabled by the scientific method, have discerned that the universe was formed in a big bang some 14-billion years ago. We have watched and modeled planets, stars, galaxies, and black holes. We probe the microscopic spaces of the atom and have subdivided it into waves and a myriad of particles. Between these two extremes, governed by natural laws that we have uncovered, we have also discovered the concepts of compassion, justice, and love.

Observing this incredible abundance of nature and life, and trying to comprehend it all, I suspect some sort of creative force propels the universe. Not a totally deterministic force that predicts each and every sparrow’s fall, rather a creative force that embraces randomness and works through quantum mechanics, evolution, free will, curiosity, and imagination.

Richard Kearney, a professor of philosophy at Boston College, has written a book titled The God Who May Be. The first line of his introduction is the provocative assertion that “God neither is … nor is not … but may be.”

“What I mean by this,” he says. “Is that God, who is traditionally thought of as act or actuality, might better be rethought as possibility.”

The creative force that started the universe has given us life. Whether that process was intentional or random doesn’t really matter.

We are here, each of us, with too few years to respond to the possibilities before us. Do we embody the promises of compassion, of justice, of love?

If we do, we will rise to become worthy agents of the creative force, helping to make real Kearney’s God of possibility — a G*d I can believe in.

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