The Beloved Community

Written By: Charles - Nov• 01•10

Samhain                                                   Waning Harvest Moon

Spent lunch with Leslie.  She’s progressing in her work at Groveland.  We had a very interesting conversation about a UU ecclesiology, not an easy topic since the notion loses something in importing it from Christianity.  UU’s insist on calling their congregations churches, but that is accurate only historically for almost all Midwest UU’s who are overwhelmingly humanist.  No one cares outside the UU community of course, and even most of those inside it don’t care either, except the clergy, for whom the nature of the communities they serve is all important.

Leslie began feeling her way toward an ecclesiology based on love.  It got me going, too.  There may be a way to define a humanist ecclesiology focused on something like the beloved community.  In this case congregants might gather to participate in a community where intimacy might happen, happen outside the familial or marital or partner bond.  No one has too much love in their lives and a community committed to vulnerability, safety, depth and confidentiality might increase the possibilities.  There is no need here to posit a ground for love transcendent to the community, that is, a God.  We seek and find love here in this immanent plane, mundane and profane creatures we might be, so seeking it in community is in our capacity.

I think this has real promise, might be groundbreaking.  I hope she follows through with it.

Going into the Black Forest to dine with my Woolly brothers.  Listening to a new book.

Here’s a thought about the beloved community:

“The Beloved Community has three dimensions: self-love, neighbor-love, and universal love, according to Rev. Owen-Towle. “You can’t send forth what you haven’t claimed,” he said of the importance of self-love. “What you don’t own in your own heart you can’t give away.”

Rev. Owen-Towle pointed out, however, that self-love is not sufficient. “Unitarian Universalism at its most authentic is never only about self-fulfillment – either everybody is saved or nobody is,” he said. “As UU’s we know that there lies an indisputable oneness at bottom.” We must demonstrate an alternative way of being religious, he added, in order to furnish a large, spacious household rather than a snug, comfortable collective.

Rev. Owen-Towle urged his audience to seek the challenge of the Beloved Community. “Beloved Community transcends our own convictions, ever widening its embrace to include outsiders,” he said. “It’s always bigger than the imaginable.””

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.