Friday, August 3, 2012

Of Hymns and Humanism

English: Happy human Humanist logo, white and ...
When forced to define them, I most often describe my religious beliefs as a Humanist.  In fact, my beliefs are somewhat more complicated that that simple label.  I am still in the process of finding my own truth, which is why I am so glad to have found Unitarian Universalism.  My faith tradition calls me to an active participation in the development of my ethics.

The third and fourth principles of our Unitarian Universalist covenant between congregations call respectively to affirm and promote "acceptance of one another and encouragement to spiritual growth in our congregations" and "a free and responsible search for truth and meaning". Unitarian Universalism isn't a faith where you can believe anything you want to as some people would have you think. Rather, it is a faith that requires you to constantly question what it is that you believe, to hold your truth up to the bright light of discernment and actively look for it's flaws. Unitarian Universalism is a faith that requires practice, spiritual practice. 

That is hard for someone who identifies as a non-theist. I don't meditate or pray. I don't write daily or even weekly but only as the mood strikes me. I would find it hard to identify any activity in my life that I would call a spiritual "practice". And yet, I find that I want one.

Since I found UUism I have felt called to deepen my exploration of my Humanist values in a spiritual context. To gain a greater understanding of how the inherent goodness I see in humankind can inform my worldview and help me to live a more fulfilling and connected life.

Music has always been a friend to me and I have felt most connected to what I would call the divine when I am singing, listening or playing music. So, I thought that might be a good place to start in developing a regular practice of thought, examination and introspection on how Humanist values inform my spiritual path.
Singing the Living Tradition (StLT) is the official hymnal of the Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations. Although there is no defining doctrine or creed that binds us, these songs, many derived from our Unitarian and Universalist Christian roots may come closest to being such a common prayer book. So, that is where I am going to start. 

I am committing to a minimum of a weekly post looking at the hymns within StLT. I hope that this will spur even more writing than a weekly post, but I will hold myself to at least a post a week. I hope that those reading this will enjoy the journey with me and will hold me accountable to my spiritual growth. 

Please feel free to comment, challenge, and in all other ways prod me to better articulate and define what it is that I hold to be true. I hope you can find some truth along the way yourself.

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  1. Well said Jim... I look forward to embarking on your journey with you!

  2. I can identify very closely with what you have said. Reflects large pieces of my life. Following to see how this developes.