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In "What Moves Us," a Tapestry of Faith program
No one knows better than I that the [Spirit] often fails to keep appointments with our congregations on Sunday morning. When that happens, it is often useful to go for a walk in the woods on Sunday afternoon! But even so, what has happened Sunday morning is not without value. For even when the Spirit fails to show, the church is where we learn how to touch It elsewhere, what to look for in the woods, and how to see. — William F. Schulz
This workshop introduces the Rev. Dr. William F. Schulz's theology, Unitarian Universalism in a New Key. Schulz, president of the Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations from 1985-1993, executive director of Amnesty International USA from 1994-2006, and current president and CEO of the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee, created this theology to "sound Unitarian Universalism in a new and more melodic key." To this end, Schulz emphasizes the experiential aspects of our Unitarian Universalism faith tradition: "While what we believe about religion is important, what we experience of the religious is even more so." We must nurture, says Schulz, an "organic faith that refuses to truck with nationalism or cultural stereotyping but is faithful first to the needs of our planet. ... Human survival depends upon our willingness to think and act in global and nondualistic ways." Schulz shows us what this "organic faith" looks like as Unitarian Universalist theology and ministry today. (Finding Time and Other Delicacies, p. 46, 39)
Schulz emerged from his Amnesty experiences with a firm belief in the importance of the community consensus of nations, as he puts it, to assign worth, dignity, and value to individuals. Such valuing of persons does not come automatically, Schulz says. It is assigned. But who, Schulz asks, does the assigning? Schulz opts for global public opinion. And also something more: Unitarian Universalist religious tradition and our worship services where one learns how to seek, perceive, and touch the Spirit.
Thus throughout his 12-year tenure at Amnesty, Schulz regarded himself "first and foremost as a Unitarian Universalist minister." For him, his work at Amnesty was Unitarian Universalist ministry.
What in our religious history and our congregational life shapes and forms our moral values and informs the way we act in the world? And how does our own social justice work inform our own personal Unitarian Universalist religious perspectives, practices, and experiences? How do we learn to look for, see, and touch the Spirit in our worship services? Schulz's Unitarian Universalist Theology in a New Key invites us to answer these questions. Schulz also calls on us to "invite the Spirit to dwell within our hearts;" to talk about "the Holy" as Unitarian Universalists; and to talk about Grace as a wellspring of our own Unitarian Universalist faith tradition.
Before leading this workshop, review the Accessibility Guidelines for Workshop Presenters found in the program introduction.
Preparing to lead this workshop
Read Handout 1, Biography of William F. Schulz and Handout 2, The Theology of William F. Schulz. Use some or all of the following exercises and questions to help you reflect on Schulz's Unitarian Universalism in a New Key and how his theological perspective relates to his own personal experiences as a world renowned social justice leader and Unitarian Universalist minister. These questions and exercises parallel the five sections, or topics, presented in Handout 2. You may wish to write your responses in your theology journal:
I. Schulz's Assessment of Human Nature
II. Unitarian "Universalist" Values
III. Religion Is a Discipline
IV. Schulz's Definitions of Theological Concepts
V. The Source of Our Ethical Injunctions
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Last updated on Thursday, February 21, 2013.
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