This is the Sunday that I am speaking on our Fifth Source, Humanism, in cahoots with a fellow in the congregation who is a longtime Humanist and member of the American Humanist Association. It has been a lot of fun to work with him; he is such a gentleman, well spoken, scholarly without being obnoxious, and we enjoy each other's company.
It's been revealing, to investigate and preach on each of our Sources, finding the places where my religious thoughts are enriched by each Source and inviting my congregation to consider those places in themselves. For me, that's one of the most appealing things about Unitarian Universalism, that we have such a rich and diverse wellspring of meaning.
I remember when I first admitted to myself that I didn't believe everything in the Bible literally. It was when I heard the opera Porgy and Bess and the song "It Ain't Necessarily So", sung by the character Sportin' Life. It was the first time I had encountered actual disbelief through popular culture. Not that it hadn't been around for a long time, but it was my first meet-up with blatant disbelief, sung in a rollicking way that was absolutely irresistible.
I kept my heresies to myself for a long time----until I found myself surrounded by others who were equally, perhaps more, skeptical about what was fact and what was truth.
Now I am quite comfortable with the label of humanist, though I consider myself a small h humanist. I'm not a member of the American Humanist Association and I find some of their die-hard principles to be a little overstated. But generally I am in agreement with much of this philosophy. I just don't need to join a club about it nor receive the Skeptical Inquiry magazine.
I notice, when I do read the mag, that there are almost no women contributors and that the Association has not completely gotten over its earliest self-conception of being too scientific to acknowledge anything not provable by empirical means. These days, most humanists are willing to concede that you just can't measure everything and must needs take some things "on faith". Love, for example, is a bit hard to measure scientifically.
In UUism, humanism and "spiritualism" have been at odds in some ways, though the gulf is lessening. I wish there was a better word than "spiritualism", because that word harks back to the days of mediums and seances, which is a far cry from what I mean today. Perhaps a better word will surface as we continue along this track.
In any case, co-preaching means I only have to write half a sermon! And some of our time in the pulpit will be in asking each other questions. I am looking forward to the sermon. I'll post it for you, including my co-preacher's words, if possible.