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One of the perks of being a UU minister is that you automatically receive each issue of the Church of the Larger Fellowship‘s monthly publication, Quest. And one of the neatest features of Quest is the mini-sermon that’s on the front page of every issue. Since we live in a small UU world, I find that I usually know the minister who has written the sermon–in fact, sometimes they’re personal acquaintances of mine. For example, the sermon in the July/August issue was written by one of my Meadville/Lombard classmates, Kathryn Bert. This month’s issue features a sermon by Thom Belote, minister at Shawnee Mission UU Church in Kansas. As with most of Thom’s work, I found it to be thoughtful and thought-provoking. He’s basic thesis is that ours is a covenantal–not creedal–religion, and as such, “we can’t expect to all believe the same things.” We can, however, “respect each other even (and especially) when we don’t agree.” I like Thom’s approach here because it cuts through the clutter of our diverse theological beliefs and gets to the heart of why we gather together in religious community. As Thom says,

Our covenants in this church—made with one another and with the spirit and source of life itself—are powerful. The promises we make have the power to change lives; the promises call upon us to live up to our best selves, to summon forth our true, authentic, vulnerable, and passionate selves.

Some wise words to think about as we begin this church year.

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