Have you ever noticed that the greatest gift a person has is also often their biggest challenge? For example, I know people who have the most generous hearts (their gift), but they often give more than they are truly able (their challenge). And so can start to feel resentful, or get burnt out, or people can take advantage of their generous spirit.
The same thing goes for communities. Our greatest gift as Unitarian Universalists is our theological diversity. So much wisdom to draw from! We can learn from each other! Yet it can also be our greatest challenge. On the one hand, everyone is welcome here – Christian, pagan, atheist, agnostic, Buddhist, Hindu, theist, or philosopher. The challenge is when we bring our hurt and pain from past experiences and make sweeping statements about another religion. This happens in churches and in our wider culture.
So how do we get past that? When we focus on beliefs, we run into trouble. When we focus on love, on its power to transform, to help others, then we get past all the challenges. This is why love is such an important concept for Unitarian Universalists.
So next time you find yourself challenged by the religion of another, try shifting your thoughts to compassion and understanding. See if that helps. I make no guarantees, but I wonder what would happen in this world if everyone did that.