Tuesday, May 4, 2010

unfold into something...

The idea that first attracted me to Unitarianism was that of "Self-Culture;" of making your life an art.  From William Ellery Channing, through James Freeman Clarke, to Emerson and Thoreau, self culture stands as a central and animating idea.  And spring is the perfect season to revisit, and better live, this idea of constant growth and unfolding.  This blog will devote the rest of May to Self Culture beginning with a (rare) cross post from Wonderful Epoch: Messages of Faith, Hope and Love from James Freeman Clarke that serves as a good introduction:

"IF God finishes everything in nature, if he makes the rhodora beautiful in the wood where no human eye can see it, and paints in exquisite tints the shell at the bottom of the ocean, we may trust that he will not rest till he has made all our souls and all our lives pure, generous, noble, beautiful. We are as yet only the roots of a future beautiful plant. The best man or woman is only a shoot a little way out of the ground. We are God's plants, God's flowers. Be sure that he will help us to unfold into something serenely fair, nobly perfect, if not in this life, then in another. If he teaches us not to be satisfied till we have finished our work, he will not be satisfied till he has finished his.

If we can believe this of God, then we can love him as we love our father, as we love our friend, in whose answering love we have perfect confidence. Such a confidence in God as this is alone the source of genuine piety. Not till we cease thinking of him as justice, as power, not till we are able to trust in him as one who means to save us perfectly, and unfold us into all the strength and beauty for which he has designed us, can we love him with all our heart, or love our brother man like ourselves."


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