As a young adult I attended art college in Providence, Rhode Island. I went to art college because I was confused and lost and more at ease turning inward than trying to make my way in a world that seemed all too materialistic for me. For two years I created drawings, paintings, prints and photographs. I learned various technique, studied the masterpieces of art history, and subjected my work to the criticism of teachers and peers. This process unmasked and revealed to me much about myself. I gained insight into my own capacity to create and destroy, and saw in my own soul great beauty and ugliness.
In time I found the creative community in which I was immersed was invigorating but isolating. When the first war with Iraq began and racial riots erupted in Los Angeles and spread around the country my conscience awakened and I detected for the first time a sense of social responsibility. At the time I could not find a way to integrate the creative process with my emerging concern for social justice and peace so I soon dropped out of that college to pursue a religious calling in ministry. I rejoice that in Unitarian Universalism I have found a way to integrate my creativity with social commitment.
Ours is a religion that requires creative thinking and creative action in the complex task of creating peace. Unitarian Universalism does not provide us with cookie-cutter creeds or a clearly defined path in life. However, this does not mean our members are free to do anything nor does it mean that our congregational life is aimless. We covenant to affirm and promote principles and purposes and membership in our congregation is a commitment to live in covenantal relationship. Our grounding as a “Welcoming Congregation” and a “Peace Advocate Congregation” provide us with focus and direction.
The commitment to belong to a religious community like ours is a bold creative act.