Role of the Church in an Intentional Community

My premise has been that America suffers under debilitating illusions and that our best solution is the creation of intentional communities seeking to disillusion themselves. These communities would model for others more just and loving ways for humans to live together. What role would the church play in such a community?

My answer involves the creation of a pizza, with the following ingredients:

  • recognition of ceremonies of human rites of passage common to most religious traditions (birth, mariage/union, death, coming of age, etc.);
  • celebration of an inclusive liturgy that honors the wisdom found in all religious traditions;
  • promotion of the principles that are the bedrock of our moral code, which again are generally common to most religious traditions;
  • education for all ages on spiritual practices and ways of understanding core elements of life and human relationships; and
  • empowerment of all citizens to pursue their unique ministries within the community.

All of these ingredients would be laid on a foundation that is noncreedal, yet open to the reverent language and imagery of all theologies. Therefore, this church will not require a belief in any supernatural being or forces, but will recognize that human knowledge is limited and that a commitment to a free and responsible search for truth and meaning is essential.

Briefly, what do each of these ingredients of our religious pizza entail?

Rites of Passage – Every child is a holy child; love between people is our core principle; aging, life transitions, and death are natural processes.

Inclusive Liturgy – All religions derive in part from a shared foundational wisdom worthy of celebration; our church would honor all messages of universal redemption and commitment to a higher ideal.

Moral Code – Nontheism; the existence or nonexistence of a god or gods is not relevant to the creation of loving and just principles for living; as children of all universes, we are imbued with the ability to define a moral code and to live by it.

Religious Education – Science may never explain all that exists, certainly not in ways that help us here and now to deal with life’s challenges; we can educate (not indoctrinate) people about the art of living and train them to use tools to cope and to aspire to greater consciousness.

Ministry – Ministry is not the task of professionally trained individuals alone; all of us have the capacity to minister to each other; each of us has gifts worth sharing that should be encouraged to blossom and grow.

Peter Morales, candidate for the Presidency of the Unitarian Universalist Association has a short video on YouTube. While I have no position at this time on the election, I was moved by a sentiment he expressed relative to the need for this denomination to grow. He said that we must feed the spiritually hungry and house the religiously homeless if we are to heal and transform the world. I could not agree more. Our church, and the church I propose, would reach out to all people of every cultural and religious background – theist, atheist, deist, polytheist, pantheist, etc. – in recognition and celebration of our shared beliefs in principles affirming love, justice, and unity with all existence.