Thursday, August 13, 2009

want and woe...

Unitarians are (and long have been) accused of being overly intellectual, rational, NPR poster children. And while this is partly true (and not in itself a bad thing-I am prepared to out myself this morning as a lover of NPR) it is hardly the basis of our church life. William Phillips Tilden reminds budding church workers of the true foundation of the work:

"This work not only enlarges the mind, but especially the heart. It is a constant appeal to our sympathies. It keeps us from growing cold, fastidious, selfish. It enlarges our hearts for the cordial acceptance of that universal brotherhood which lies at the base of the religion Jesus taught and lived. Who, if he could, would dwarf his own nature by coming in contact with only one phase of human life, its happy, joyous, well- to-do experiences, knowing nothing of its heavy strains, its severe temptations, its sorrows and sins ? The real divineness of our calling is seen in this : that, while it brings us into communion with the very highest thoughts and noblest fellowships, it consecrates all knowledge and all gifts to the humblest ministries to want and woe.

Here we join hands with all the workers for humanity the world over,— all that ever increasing company under whatever name, Social Science, Ethical Culture, Moral Reform, Christian Socialism,— all who are ministering to the poor and needy, all everywhere, of every name or shade of faith, or of no name, but who without avowed faith save in doing good to the world while in it,— all these the liberal minister will draw into the circle of his thought, his study, his fellowship, knowing that from all something may be learned for the enlargement of his conception of a true Christian ministry, and of the variety of methods that may be adopted for the building up of the kingdom of God.

It is not necessary to agree with any one in his beliefs or methods, in order to learn from him. If he be conscientiously devoted to doing good in his own way, we shall be wise to come close to him, that we may catch the fervor of his zeal, and feel that we have a common end in view."


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