Thursday, 26 March 2015

A Reflection Of The World's Complexity Bound Together By Our Many Different Views

Being a Weaver

A Persian poet wrote 'Broad is the carpet God has spread and beautiful are its colours'. A Persian carpet is durable because of the long, arduous weaving process where the tough warp and weft hold together hundreds of woollen and silken knots that create its pattern, provide its richness of colour, its depth of texture and make of it one whole. The imperfections are woven into the design; sometimes an imperfection is deliberately created and the fringes around the edges will wear in time because they are unsupported by the weft and the knots.

Some years ago, I remember calling it 'ballast for the soul'. It was an awareness of the strength that comes from the many varied strands that make up our Unitarian religious perspective; Christian, Theist, Pagan, Buddhist, Mystic, Agnostic amongst others - none of these strands in any way a weakness, or a fatal flaw at the heart of our Unitarian religious identity, but a hard won strength borne out of the struggle to bear witness to religious differences in a complex world, a struggle not to capitulate to any one view, however persuasively argued.

Of course, the struggle goes on. Some strands seem to shine more brightly at certain times; a pattern emerges that feels the right one to follow but then life experience moves us in a different direction, a new perspective opens up and we go on weaving the path and the pattern that gives life meaning at that time.

Maybe here the analogy breaks down because, unlike the carpet that might adorn our homes, there isn't a finished product. We just go on creating it, all the time connected and strengthened by the process and by the people who accompany us on the journey. And because our lives are messy and complex and nothing is ever fixed like a Grecian urn or a Persian carpet, we find our truth in the process and that is good enough.

Rev. Margaret Kirk

1 comment:

  1. I thoroughly agree with Margaret. We are a strong liberal religious tradition because of our ability and our freedom to draw on all religions of good will. As the Advices and Queries of the Religious Society of Friends encourages Quakers, we are open to the light, from wherever it comes.

    I grew up in the States. My mother is a Christian and grew up in the Church of England but found the plethora of denominations there off putting. When I was about 6 or 7, I was invited to attend a Baptist church with a friend from school. This developed into me, along with my mother and brother, attenidng a Bible study class with a member of the congregation for many years. This instilled in me a deep love of the Bible along with certain fundamentalism. As I grew up and discover my sexuality, I naturally found this disconcerting. I wanted to go to church and we ended up at a ‘non-denominational’ church which a kindly Episcopalian (also gay) warned us off. I felt very welcome in the Episcopal church and through work with a local chapter of a national LGBT charity, discovered UU. It was exactly what I wanted. I had been reading John Shelby Spong, Marcus Borg and other liberal Christian writers along with Thich Nhat Hanh and other Buddhist works. I felt, and still feel, comfortable going to churches of any variety, synagogues, temples and mosques. Being a Unitarian (and now also a Quaker) gives me the freedom to explore.

    I remember reading Life of Pi for the first time and feeling such an affinity with Pi when he, with his parents, is confronted by the religious leaders in the street. ‘I just want to love God!’ he cried. That’s all I want to do too. Being a Unitarian means I have any number of possibilities. We have a richness and a strength we must not be afraid of. Yes, I tend to emphasise my Christianity but that’s because I grew up a Christian and I feel most at home in that tradition. But I love the fact that my daily devotion is not restricted to the Bible. I’ve just finished a series of readings from the Hindu holy writings. It’s all part of a beautiful tapestry.

    In peace
    Tristan Jovanovic (member, Kensington Unitarians)