Progressives value differences. It makes us stronger, more resilient, more creative. Because we each hold a piece of the truth. So, we demand a path spacious enough to sustain a community of radiant difference. Thus, fashioning a culture that invites all people along a journey of spiritual deepening can be daunting. Our paths and lives are unique, how can we have the same path towards deepening?
But, spiritual deepening is not about a specific outcome. It’s not about believing a list of specific tenents. Or experiencing a specific reality. Nor is it about the attainment of one single predefined objective.
Rather, what defines spiritual deepening is the ongoing cultivation of our souls. A pilgrimage of practice with no map for guidance but the constellation of guiding directions. Where each guiding direction invites us to find our way of realizing it in our lives. Each, if we let them, invites us deeper into the spiral dance of self, other and life itself.
The Five Catalyst for Spiritual Deepening
Grow in Self
This catalyst invites us into practices that expand our capacity to move through life with resilience, self-awareness, empathy, compassion, vulnerability, and purpose. Aiding us in maintaining our sense of self as we deepen in connection — even through conflict — — while being open to others’ perspectives. It is the cultivation of practices that allow us to experience the feeling that we are enough as we are and that we are loved, while always being open to growth.
Grounded in Unitarian Universalism
Being a Unitarian Universalist gives us the gift of ancestors. Ancestors who have struggled with life’s persistent questions: What is our purpose? How do we discern what is true, right, or good? Cultivating practices that root us in our living tradition — our history, theology, the lives of those who went before us and walk with us now — — establishes a steading bond, a place of productive friction, inspiration, consolation, and perspective.
Build Beloved Community
We are not for ourselves alone. Practices that cultivate our capacity to realize the Beloved Community enable us to respond to the gift of this life by heeding the call to love the hell out of this world. Beloved Community, or Belovedness, is created each time a person’s inherent worth and dignity are honored. It’s built when the bounty of the earth is shared and ecosystems are steward-ed. It’s liberated when the barriers of racism, sexism, and every kind of oppression are dismantled in our own hearts and uprooted from the very structures of our society.
Experience Mystery and Awe
This one sounds the simplest, but may actually be the most difficult. These are the practices that require us to cultivate a receptive willingness to surrender and embrace the wonder and “miracle” of life. This catalyst to growth does not involve grasping to understand. Instead, it spurs us to experience life’s elemental mystery and the awe of sensing the ultimate interdependence of everything in it: atom, earth, body, mind, spirit, love, community. These grounding and steadying practices allow us to not just stumble into life’s breathtaking moments of awe and mystery, but notice it in the everyday.
Church is the place we practice being human. We can’t do this alone. These are the practices of covenant and the practices that sustain human community. Worshiping Liberally. Serving in Partnership. Connecting for Community, Growing in Spirit. Giving in Gratitude. Growing in faith involves a deepening of belonging and of partnership with the work of the church. It involves companioning others on their journey and ministering to our community. Growing leadership and responsibility in the congregation is an practice of growing in faith.
Drawn into Partnership with Courageous Love
This deepening is not for its own sake, but for the ultimate purpose of drawing each of us as individuals, and the larger WE of community, into partnership with Courageous Love and finding our unique way of being faithful to its call.