Yesterday, a colleague invited a question on the UU Evangelists Lab Facebook page, asking the group to share about our particular cultural context and how it shapes our core theological message.
Today, I have been preparing for a session with our youth group tomorrow morning, where we will be telling the story of David and Goliath (based on 1 Samuel 17), particularly emphasizing the 5 smooth stones that David carries with him, and which give him the confidence that he can defeat the fabled warrior (and that Unitarian theologian and ethicist James Luther Adams used as a central image in his essay, "Guiding Principles for a Free Faith").
This story and session will set up the next few months of conversations around our Unitarian Universalist smooth stones and what we in the Mountain Desert District call our Jagged Rocks - that is, what we believe are our saving tools and messages. While David brought with him smooth stones, we have evolved this idea to recognize a faith that is dangerous and not always smooth-going - and to lift up how our tools must always be contextual and particular, even while they are rooted in our tradition.
In order to fully engage the question posed on the Evangelists Lab, or the questions with the youth tomorrow, we have to start by thinking about the particular struggles and challenges our community faces - those things which threaten abundant life in our particular time and place. Who or what are our Goliaths today? And then we can think about what tools give us the assurance that we will not be defeated....What are our jagged rocks or smooth stones?
These are the questions I will invite the youth tomorrow to answer - and then we'll turn to consider what saving messages their faith community has offered them that could adequately address these threats. What would your answers be? Who or what are our Goliaths today? And how would you describe the saving tools, values or messages that assure you of their defeat? I'll share my own answers as well as some of what the youth came up with in future blog posts.
5 Smooth Stones (James Luther Adams)
5 Jagged Rocks (Originated w/Rev. Nancy Bowen; evolving through collegial conversation in the MDD)
"None of us alone can save the world, but together, that is another possibility, waiting."
Rev. Gretchen Haley is a Unitarian Universalist minister, mom, partner and friend, trying her best to love this beautiful, broken world.