I remember the day I told my grandmother I was not a Christian. Her response was, “Oh yes, you are!” I firmly disagreed, but even in my youthful willfulness I knew better than to argue my reasons too long with my elders. My heritage, my family’s faith roots, from all the sides, stepfamily, in-law, and biological are firmly grounded in forms of Christianity. Like many, I grew up earnestly praying, practicing and believing in the Christian faith, until I did not, then left my Christian heritage behind to find something that aligned with the values that I hold dear.
Years later, I went to a workshop called UU Christianity. Primarily because I was baffled by the concept. Why would you be a Christian and a UU? There I found people who were earnestly grappling with their Christian heritage, and in a way, I found Jesus again. These folks were wiser than I, weaving their inherited faith with their chosen one, loving the radical social justice rabbi as well as faith ancestors who were seeking more. It was a powerful reckoning, reuniting of my childhood love of Jesus while holding the gift of a progressive faith built on a foundation of love that included freedom, reason, hope, and courage.
Our UU faith ancestors gifted us a progressive faith inheritance. Those imperfect UU ancestors, like many of us, were courageously willing to question entrenched ideas and systems that were oppressive, unjust, and unloving. In a way, my grandmother was right. The fullness of my heritage includes Christianity. Each faith journey includes heritage and choice. It is up to each of us to choose what we will carry forward.
Our faith tradition does not ask us all to adhere to one set of defined beliefs but instead we get to create together aspirational promises grounded in liberating love. Unitarian Universalism heritage is one that centers our relationships. This is why we are a covenantal, not a creedal, faith.
Our covenant to one another, our planet, all living beings is the cornerstone of who we are. Caring for one another, nurturing our lives through connection, engaging ourselves and the community creates a legacy of love worthy of giving to future generations.
It is a privilege to be on this faith journey with all of you.
Rev. Kimberlee Tomczak Carlson, Minister of Religious Education