Sunday, March 18, 2012

Unitarian Universalists consider Moore's gospels

For the Upper Delaware Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, service leader Laurie Stuart offers the program "Writing in the Sand" based on Thomas Moore's book by the same name. Stuart shares,
"As a sort of disclaimer, I want to let you know that, unlike Moore, I am not a scholar of the Gospels and I have little relationship to them. Growing up Unitarian Universalist, I hold no allegiance to any particular sacred text and get my connection to spiritual or divine essence through direct experience, both secular and mystical. And it was in that secular experience that I first became acquainted with the work of Thomas Moore. He was the keynote speaker of the UUMA Convocation that I attended in November of 2009 and, in a mystical sense, this book came unbidden in the mail in the spring of 2010. In a simple way, (everything in my mind is simple as well as complex) my experience, this combining of the ordinary with the extraordinary and the unexpected, is the fundamental point of the book. But because beginnings are often endings, and endings are beginnings, there’s a whole lot more meaning in the complexity that can be gleaned. So I began reading it and liked that it made the Gospels, those holy and sacred writings that I have no conscious connection with, speak to me."
Stuart says, "In his examination of the original Greek texts, Moore dismisses the cautionary voice of tradition and explores the deeper significance of language, stressing the origins of words and the many levels of meaning in stories and imagery. Through his study, Moore shows that the teachings of Jesus are challenging in a far different way than the moralism often associated with them. Based on being open to life, deepening your understanding, and giving up all defensiveness around your convictions, the Gospels can be the source of a new kind of certainty and stability that cannot be codified and enshrined in a list of rules."

Stuart includes his own musical contributions and photographs, stories from Moore's Writing the Sand: Jesus and the Soul of the Gospels, and video clips of Moore speaking.