Introduction to Workshop 4
Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love. — 1 John 4:7-8
This workshop explores Unitarian Universalism's theology of love focusing on "agape" love. Agape is defined as an unselfish, spiritual, non-sexual love for another; "brotherly" love; or like the love God has for humankind.
Our Unitarian Universalist theology of love has its roots in Christian ideas of universal salvation. Universal salvation is based on the belief that God's love for humankind is so great that he sacrificed his son, Jesus Christ, and this great act alone saved all of us from eternal damnation. This view contradicted orthodox views that it was predetermined that a small number of people (the elect) would go to heaven and the rest of humankind were damned to hell. This workshop addresses how the idea of universal salvation has evolved for Unitarian Universalists and how remnants of this belief are still present in our Principles.
Participants explore the historical foundations of this belief, as well as how love plays out in their everyday lives. They also explore what our theology of love says about evil.
This workshop asks "What does a theology of love cause us to do?", "How should we be in the world if we think universal love is important?", and "What are our congregations doing right now to live out a theology of love?"
The Faith In Action is a large undertaking. If your group decides to complete it, you will need additional time, materials and help from the congregation and/or community.
This workshop will:
- Introduce the idea of love as a theological concept within Unitarian Universalism by looking at its historical and biblical roots as well as modern interpretations
- Recognize how agape love connects to James Luther Adam's third and fourth stones
- Make connections between a theology of love and the social justice work congregations and individuals engage in
- Help participants reflect on their own theology of love and their relationships with those around them.
- Understand the historical roots of the Universalist theology of love as it relates to salvation and God
- Reflect on what the Universalist theology of love means for them and for Unitarian Universalists today, including how they live it out; what its limits are, and what it says about evil
- Identify where a theology of love shows up in the Unitarian Universalist Principles and the actions of Unitarian Universalist congregations today.