Today we continue with Rev. Dr. Laurel Hallman, Senior Minister at the First Unitarian Church of Dallas, Texas, and her fantastic Berry Street Essay from 2003, “Images for Our Lives.” Part one can be found here.
In this segment, Rev. Hallman references two poems — First Lesson, by Philip Booth, and The Rowing Endeth, by Anne Sexton. Because of copyright issues, the poems are not printed in their entirety in the essay, though links to the full texts are provided.
Come back Monday for the conclusion!
“Images for Our Lives”
by Rev. Laurel Hallman, Senior Minister, First Unitarian Church of Dallas, Berry Street Essay, 2003, part 2 of 3
I recently spoke to our Adult Sunday School Class in Dallas on the topic “Why I am not a Theist”. They packed the room to hear what I had to say, because of course they thought I was. Why did they think I was a Theist? Because I use the word God. Because I pray in the midst of the worship service. I was embarrassed a bit myself, to find that I had failed to make the distinction that the use of metaphors and poetry and scripture has to do with religious imagination, and not with one theological category or another. We had a lively and productive discussion that day, as I spoke, as I am today, about religious language, and how it communicates the depths of experience, and that it isn’t always what it seems.
I remember years ago, when the Principles and Purposes were being formulated in meetings all across our continent, Peter Fleck, of beloved memory, who was on the committee to synthesize those formulations—Peter Fleck said that he had noticed a curious thing. When he asked individual UUs where they stood theologically, he said, “They would juxtapose two seemingly opposite theological categories together. Like Christian-Humanist, or Agnostic-Christian, or Rational-Mystic refusing to align themselves with one distinct theology.” Peter was puzzled by this.
I now think it was the beginning of our attempts to extricate ourselves from the hard theological boundaries within which we had closed ourselves off from one another and from our experience of religious imagination, and deep reality.
(Read on … )
Tags: Berry Street Essay
, Laurel Hallman