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Yesterday I took part in Belmont Serves, the day of service sponsored by the Belmont Religious Council. About 450 people took part. (I was quite happy to see a number of UU’s there, and had a happy and humble pride in the number of UU’s who were leaders of work teams.)
The most wonderful part of Belmont Serves this (in my mind) is the fact that the day is one of interfaith cooperation. The people taking part included (alphabetically) Baha’i, Christian, Jewish, unaffiliated and Unitarian Universalist members.
A side commentary here: I list the Latter Day Saints under the category of Christian. One of the controversies in the news of late has been the insistence by an evangelical Christian, Pastor Robert Jeffress, that theLDSChurchis a “cult”. He has since said that he means they are a “theological cult” not a “sociological cult”. As near as I can tell, this means that theLDSChurchdoes not have exactly the same theological beliefs as he does. It seems that in his mind there is only one way to be a Christian; his way.
The hubris that Pastor Jeffress has displayed (“I have the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth—and you do not”) is all too common among religious people; including (let us be honest) Unitarian Universalists. Some of us “know” that we—individually—have the truth and others do not. But at least we believe that it is up to the individual to follow their own spiritual path and we recognize—with whatever frailty we may hold this recognition—that we may someday change our own theological stance and accept what we today reject. This usually gives us some level of not just tolerance but respect for the theologies of others.
At the Belmont Serves gathering, any of the conversations I took part in about religion were conversations of exploration not of challenge and condemnation. And that is as it ought to be. And not just inBelmont, but in the world.
I hope the day comes when all of us in the human family can meet with people not to find ways to separate ourselves from them but to find common ground and to explore differences with interest and excitement.
Belmont Serves is one small step in building that world.