On a warmer day than this one, I walked the dog as a butterfly followed along overhead. The sun cast a perfect, crisp shadow on the pavement, and the dog tried repeatedly to pounce on the butterfly’s shadow. Of course, whenever it appeared a sure catch, the butterfly dove and pirouetted away.
Religion is like that 2-dimensional shadow, related to the absolute, but not the same thing. In my theology, a multitude of religions are metaphors, created from different worldviews. All are related, but none is complete. And yet, we continue to try to grasp the metaphor, rather than turning to see where it points. Or…we punch holes in the metaphor, rather than turning to see where it points.
Many Unitarians possess a scientific frame of reference, which can lead us to seek left-brained answers to right-brained questions. But the ultimate mystery will always fly beyond our grasp. I believe the most intelligent answer we can give is a power-filled “I don’t know;” not a meek and frightened “I’m too small,” but a bursting, awe-inspired recognition of magnificence, far beyond the reaches of our greatest imaginations – a grand appreciation, if not an understanding.
This Advent season, we can say that virgins don’t give birth and that wise men don’t follow stars to stables to visit a baby. Or we can suspend our disbelief and turn to see where this and myriad other stories point, to a multi-dimensional, colorful, and dancing truth.
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The Words of Wisdom? is a publication of the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Gwinnett.