Weekly Message from T. J.

More Than What Divides Us

Aloha from Portland, Oregon!

This is the week of the Regional Assembly for the Western Region of the Unitarian Universalist Association. Unitarian Universalists from across the western states will gather for education, worship, and to work together to strengthen the bonds that hold our movement together. It is a blessing to be able to carry the Aloha from our church to this wonderful event.

Sometimes people are surprised to discover how organized the Unitarian Universalist Association is. They are surprised to find out about the number of meetings and gatherings held every year. It might make sense to imagine that a group who embraces so many different ways of believing would have a hard time organizing itself and would find challenges in deciding on a way forward together. But that’s not the case.

See, in a sense, we have it easier than some of the faiths of our relatives and friends. It is because of our diversity in thought and expression that we must find a way to hear as many voices as possible while choosing ways to serve our world and speak truth to power with a unified voice. One tool for this is our Fifth Principle, which holds to the hope of the use of the democratic process in our affairs. And make no mistake about it, we’ll see that in action at times this week.

But my personal belief at events like this is that there is something even more practical than voting and democratic representation at work here. In fact, what is at work in gatherings like this is so practical it almost starts to look like a divinely or otherwise inspired occurrence. When people truly believe differently and in wide and vibrant diversity, what occurs when we gather together to find unity is something very beautiful. After talking over issues for a while, what I have come to count on Unitarian Universalists to discover in real and tangible ways, is that what unites us is vastly more important than what divides us. But in a group where beliefs are so diverse, finding what unites us is vastly more clarifying, more exciting, and more unifying than may be so in other groups.

As a movement, these events are essential to stay connected. They are essential to do the work of our Region. But they are essential to lift the spirits of anyone anywhere who doubts for a second whether people who believe differently can come together to agree on some of the things that matter most in our world. I am looking forward to giving our congregation its voice in some of these discussions, and I will be sure to let everybody know how things went here.

Until then, we will all keep seeing the world and the universe in as many different ways as we can. After all, it’s what actually helps us agree on what matters most and what unites us.


Rev. T. J.

3 Responses to “Weekly Message from T. J.

  1. I am hopeful that what unites us can be discovered, revealed and held in the light during times of diverse and strongly expressed views. Often this discovery rests on having a spiritual and practical leader. You are one. I am grateful you are in our midst

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