Remodeling begins with destruction. The old must be torn down, or ripped apart, to get ready for the new. The West Wing has been destroyed. Those funky bathrooms are no more. Gone for good. Literally. Gone to make room for good bathrooms, a new kitchen, offices and meeting space.
The church offices have been moved to the East Wing, temporarily. Everything, of course, is temporary. Including me. And you. We should be moving into the new space on or about September 10, when the new season opens.
Lory, Carlyn and I have been living under construction at home, too. We’re putting an addition on our house; adding a master bathroom, and reconfiguring our living room-family room space downstairs. It’s a big project and it’s progressing nicely. But there’s a bit of a strain during the destruction—construction. It’s a challenge to have home and work space undergoing such transformation at the same time!
We’re reminded that life is characterized by change…loss…renewal. Those are the basics.
Our society is in the midst of remodeling as well. The recent New York Times poll, which they call, The Way We Live Now, surveys changes in our thinking, values and way of life. Social, cultural, technological, financial and political changes are reconfiguring our lives. We’re living under a huge renovation project.
One of the most intriguing questions the pollsters put to the people was this: “Do you agree or disagree with the following statement: The best religion would be one that borrowed from all religions.” I was astounded to read that 42% agreed. Only 45% disagreed and 13% had no opinion. What a change! Channing, Emerson, Parker and others who suggested this in mid-19th century would be amazed!
This remarkable change is a confirmation of what they initiated, and what we’ve been trying to accomplish as Unitarian Universalists in America since Channing launched the renovation project with his famous sermon Unitarian Christianity in 1819.
We’re trying to marry myth to logos. We’re trying to weave the rational and the emotional, the mystical and the practical, into a fully-functioning humanness. We’re trying to find and affirm the best in all the religions and build a meaningful spirituality without trivializing the ancient rituals. We’re not alone in this effort, of course. The Times survey shows that quite clearly. There’s growing agreement about it.
We live in exciting times, both here at the Unitarian Church in Westport, and in our society—our ever-evolving, ever-shrinking world. So there’s all the more reason to stop from time to time, take a deep breath, relax, find the stillness, give thanks, and be better prepared for the next step. The flowers are blooming. Stop, notice and enjoy!