Theological Reflection

Return to Minister’s Columns

Theological Reflection

 I have been reading about theological reflection and one claim is that it involves a conversation, if you will, between our experience (either individual or group) and our religious heritage.  So for Christians experience and the Bible or the Bible and Tradition; for Jews it involves experience and Torah and Talmud, for Muslim Experience in conversation with Qur’an and Hadith, etc.

So for Unitarian Universalists, where is the conversation?  The easy answer would be, between experience and the UU tradition (Channing, Emerson, the heroes of the past and the UU theologians of today).  But for me (I speak only personally here) that is too limited. 

Part of my personal religious claim is that the sacred texts of the world are my (humanity’s) sacred texts; that as a Unitarian Universalist—really, as a human being—l can read any sacred text, approach it with respect, read it carefully and draw religious and spiritual truth from it.

In fact, I feel called to do so; I feel called to read the sacred texts of the world and delve into their lessons and meaning.  That, for me, is part of the human religious quest.

Of course, actually reading the world’s sacred texts is a prodigious exercise.  The on-line Internet Sacred Text Archive publishes a cd with over 500 books of the world’s religions.  Just reading these, reading them without any theological reflection, would take many years. 

And then there are further questions: what is a sacred text; what counts?  Are the Odyssey and the Iliad sacred texts, or not?

What of Walt Whitman?

I believe that whatever moves my spirit is spiritual; that whatever deepens my connection to life, to other people, to the universe or to the core of myself is religious.  And that may include many sacred texts of moments.