This is my personal blog. My views are my own and do not represent those of the congregation I joyfully serve. But my congregation loves me!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Today We Are All Unitarian Universalists

I just attended a candlelight service at Holston Valley Unitarian Universalist Church. The minister, Jacqueline, and I are good friends. Our two congregations have a great deal in common. We encourage freethinking and inclusivity. The two congregations are co-hosting Michael Dowd and Connie Barlow in September. I participated in Jacqueline's installation service. Chris Buice, the minister at TVUUC, was at her installation too. He offered the children's sermon.

Jacqueline was in Knoxville today, in the hospital, praying with, listening to, and comforting the victims and their families. I didn't know any of the folks at TVUUC. Many of those at Holston Valley did know them. The UU world is fairly close knit. You can literally count the number of UU churches in East Tennessee on one hand. Some had attended the TVUUC and knew it quite well. They spoke lovingly of it. It is a church that opens its arms to all people.

This kind of violence is difficult to comprehend. Perhaps it is beyond comprehension. As of this post, the motive of the shooter is not known. I almost wish I don't find out his motive. I am afraid of what it might be. Some of us have added a good measure of fear to our grief today.

Jacqueline told me that Second Presbyterian of Knoxville (the church next door to TVUUC) was where the children found sanctuary during the shooting. I am grateful for that. I am confident the Presbyterians (and others) will keep the care coming. UU churches often are kept at arm's length by other Christian churches. Now is the time to embrace.

At the candlelight service this evening, we prayed in silence and in song for the victims, for their loved ones, for all the churches, and for the shooter and his family. The UUs are a pretty special kind of people.

I am a Presbyterian. And today, I am a Unitarian Universalist.


6 comments:

Michael Wilson said...

On this day let us learn to keep our thoughts, words, and actions in perspective. Let us realize
that public expressions of hate towards any group is picked up by others whom are willing
to kill and harm in hate. When we identify ideas and people we disagree with, let us disagree in love for others,
not in hate. And, let us learn to live in love with those we disagree with to a degree that goes beyond tolerance.

Phil Barnhart said...

As a former Presbyterian and current Unitarian; thank you for your comments, your sanctuary, and your demonstration of what is great in America.

I have received the same words - "Today We Are All Unitarians" - from friends. These include an Orthodox Jew, a couple of Baptists, a Mormon, and (I do live in Texas) several Pentecostals. One acquaintance, a fundamentalist with whom I have had several heated "discussions" with over politics, evolution, the nature of God, and the literal truth of the bible, sent me a great email full of love, compassion, and solidarity.

That seems to be the greatest strength of America. Every act of hate and intolerance is met by an overwhelming response of love, tolerance, and understanding. In this country, I know that wherever I worship - if tragedy strikes, disaster hits, or bullets fly - almost every church, temple, mosque, and synagogue will open their doors in solidarity and defense.

Flycandler said...

What a terrible, terrible tragedy.

In the thoughts and prayers of people all around the world, we lovingly hold up the folks of TVUUC and their families and friends to God in this dark hour.

John Shuck said...

Michael-- "Let us realize
that public expressions of hate towards any group is picked up by others whom are willing
to kill and harm in hate."

Thank you, absolutely.

Phil--thank you. "That seems to be the greatest strength of America. Every act of hate and intolerance is met by an overwhelming response of love, tolerance, and understanding."

Right on.

Flycandler-- "...we lovingly hold up the folks of TVUUC and their families and friends to God in this dark hour."

Yes.

Little Warrior's Mom said...

Thank you. Your words really touched my heart.

John Shuck said...

Little Warrior's Mom--thank you for stopping and by and sharing that. Peace.