Speaking of Servetus

I have just arrived in Spain to participate in a conference in honor of the 500th anniversary of the birth of Michael Servetus (or, as the Spaniards name him, Miguel Servet). Organized by the Michael Servetus Institutethe conference is taking place in Zaragosa and in Villanueva de Sigena, the birthplace of Servetus.

When I was first asked if I would be a presenter, I replied that I am not a scholar of Servetus. I have done some reading and, like most UU ministers, I have preached about him, but that is hardly background for speaking at a conference like this.

I was assured that I was not expected to be a scholar. Rather, they wanted me to speak about Unitarianism (and Unitarian Universalism) today, with emphasis on the theme of liberalism and dogmatism. So tomorrow I will present a paper on that topic in Spanish to the assembled Servetus scholars. Continue reading

Permanent link to this article: http://president.blogs.uua.org/liberal-religion/speaking-of-servetus/

Welcome

Dear friends,

May 29, 2010 National Day of Action, Phoenix, AZ

It is with genuine excitement that I introduce to you my new blog, Beyond Belief. I look forward to using this forum to reach out to readers in a format that is less formal than a sermon or UU World column, yet deeper and more flexible than I would post on Facebook or Twitter.

My hope is that this blog also will provide an opportunity to connect with those of you who would like to know more about Unitarian Universalism, especially the public witness work that is a vital aspect of our faith.

To start, perhaps I should explain the title. It stems from my conviction that religion is not primarily about what we believe. In America, the first question we tend to ask about a religious group is “What do they believe?” and we differentiate among religions based on our broad understanding of their beliefs.

Yet belief, in the sense of agreeing on what is “true,” is a modern preoccupation. For me, religion is much more about what we love, about what we hold sacred, about what moves us at the core of our being. Indeed, I have argued (in a sermon, no less) that belief is the enemy of religion. When we focus on beliefs alone, we tend to lapse into arguments that are at least tiresome and often dangerous.
Continue reading

Permanent link to this article: http://president.blogs.uua.org/faith/welcome-2/