The beautiful handmade pulpit that graces our sanctuary is made of seven panels of walnut wood, one for each of the seven principles our faith has drawn out of our history as sure guides for healthy human relationships and communities. It is, for anyone who stands behind that pulpit to speak, looking out over a crowd of expectant and often beloved faces, both a distinct privilege and an honor, given and accepted in reciprocal respect. The pulpit is a symbol of freedom, power, inspiration, and integrity. History eddies there, cranks up the gravity, electrifies the air, demands of you, whoever you are, more than you believe you can be or offer. Our pulpit is the center around which our collective search for truth and meaning orbits. What is said there really matters, the truth, as the speaker understands it. Not the big “T” Truth, the only Truth, the Truth everyone has to swallow hook, line and sinker, but the little “t” truth, yours and mine, delivered honestly, humbly and as clearly as possible with the goal of shared understanding. The speaker at our pulpit is not there to convince or persuade, to rally or disabuse, to shame or flatter, but to describe something important about being human in a way that makes their personal point of view clear and respects that others may see things differently.
We gather on Sundays to hear our companions-on-the-journey speak about matters that move them, to listen carefully and enter into their perspective, and then to find the courage to use what we hear to re-explore, again and again, our own convictions, as malleable or calcified as they may be, with the understanding that openness to new revelation is the foundation of spiritual growth. We’re here to grow, and sometimes the process of growing can be as uncomfortable as it is exhilarating.
Our Promises to One Another When We Gather
- We promise to speak honestly and humbly out of genuine familiarity with our topic and deep respect for our listeners.
- We promise to be inclusive of human difference in the language we choose to use, that there may be as few barriers as possible to full engagement.
- We promise to avoid demonizing individuals or groups, labeling or name-calling, reducing complicated issues to either/or polarities, assuming “like-mindedness” on any topic when we are speaking with others in a congregational setting.
- We promise to focus on the moral dimensions of public policy in our common life as citizens and not on particular political parties or politicians, except to invite interested others to join in specific actions (such as lobbying, letter-writing, demonstrations or marches) designed to protect the rights and meet the needs of human beings, our many relations and the Earth.
- We promise, during election seasons, to be familiar with and adhere to “The Real Rules” in order to protect our tax-free status with the IRS.
- We promise to make verbal allowance for differing opinions when we take strong stands in our presentations, remembering our forebear Ferenc Dávid’s words “We need not think alike to love alike.”
- We promise to listen to opinions that oppose our own with the openness we hope others will offer us.
Love alike, friends.