Who’s in Charge Here?
The Rev. Laura Horton-Ludwig, Minister
First Unitarian Universalist Church of Stockton
January 23, 2011
A stream flows down the mountainside, beautiful and strong,
confident in its power to overcome all obstacles that stand in its way.
We who identify as Unitarian Universalists are the inheritors
of a long and rich tradition of religious liberalism.
For generations, we have been a voice
asserting the power of the human spirit to make a difference,
to grow and learn and change ourselves,
to change the world for the better.
Back at the beginning of the 19th century,
our Unitarian ancestors broke away from their Calvinist peers
who were saying, human beings are hopelessly flawed and weak.
The Unitarians said, no, look at all the good things we can do
if we put our mind to it!
Where their peers said,
we must trust in the inscrutable mercy of God to save us,
the Unitarians said,
we have the power to make ourselves good enough
to be worthy of salvation.
They called it “salvation by character”—
an expression of faith that if we follow our conscience
and work hard to shape ourselves into the best people we can be,
we will be OK. We will be safe in a deep and ultimate sense,
held in that force which gave rise to us and to all things—
maybe not safe in every way here on earth,
because we all know that’s not guaranteed,
but deeply safe in the end.
This is a faith I still share, and I believe you do too.
But a hundred years after those first American Unitarians,
we began to discover a shadow side
to our faith in human strength and possibility. Continue reading