MINISTER’S MUSINGS – Rev. Pat Jobe
My Facebook page has photos and other “musings”.
We are undifferentiated energy, unconditional love and riders on paths of light. There is little scientific evidence of this, although the collecting of 2 million plus near-death experiences tests that “lack of evidence” argument. The argument is moot. I have felt it for more than 50 years. Although I preach from a tradition that offends some Christian friends, I’m still enough of a preacher to cling to the old stories. Angels are as real to me as apples, peaches and pumpkin pie. The sky doesn’t just hold stars. Skies hold wisps of spiritual energy as real as oil spills. Answered prayer and miracles dog my steps like old friends and the laughter of my family that loves funny stories. Sometimes I tire of the left-brain dogmatism of science as much as I do the damning cat-calls of hellfire preachers.
But wait a minute. I serve a congregation that is as populated with atheists, agnostics and humanists as it is with Christians, Jews, Buddhist and the Earth Spirit friends who know exactly what I’m talking about when I look into the sky and feel wisps of spiritual energy.
Early on in my service to this congregation I was challenged around the use of the word, “spirituality.” A dear atheist brother told me, “I have no idea what you’re talking about when you use that word.” My answer to him was to think of what people mean by a “spirited horse.” I’m not sure if that clarified my meaning. I’ll ask him the next time he and I have a moment to chat.
All this brings to mind the seminal work of Dr. Victor Frankl who wrote Man’s Search For Meaning, a thin book that has sold well over 10 million copies. Frankl was intrigued during his grueling years as a prisoner in Nazi death camps that inmates under the exact same conditions would survive while others died. He concluded those who lived had meaning in their lives. My own journey has taught me that such meaning can come from whatever it is that energizes spirited horses. Whatever jerks those muscles, cocks that head, dances those legs is also afoot in the lives of spirited people. Clearly atheists and humanists can be as animated as those of us who believe in angels and miracles and answered prayers. That’s one of the appeals of Unitarian Universalism. We admire and lift up any spirited person, idea, or story that animates our love of justice, kindness, fairness, democracy, all of our values. Maybe my belief in a spirit world will not be so off-putting to those of you who deny that world, as long as we share the energy to go on opening our hearts to all kinds of beliefs and all kinds of people. One of my favorite UU jokes is that we are open to all kinds of people, especially people who are open to all kinds of people, which tends to make us a very small crowd.
Love to all.
By Rev. Pat Jobe