You are welcome here in this extraordinarily imperfect community of persons who need one another in our joy, in our sorrow, in our confidence, in our questioning, and in our bewilderment and curiosity in the face of life’s mysteries.
In my opening words on a recent Sunday morning, I described our congregation as “extraordinarily imperfect”. Some of you appreciated that phrase in particular, and your comments have led me to consider those words more thoroughly. The more I think about them, the more true they feel.
You—we—really are extraordinary. And wholly imperfect, too.
These ruminations reminded me of a blog post by the Rev. Dr. Victoria Weinstein (blogging as PeaceBang), who has long been critical of our Unitarian Universalist sense of “terminal uniqueness”:
I’ve been screaming and yelling and doing everything but laying down on chancels throwing temper tantrums for years against liberal religious “terminal uniqueness:” that bizarre insistence lefty Christians and Unitarian Universalists have that we’re the really unique game in town. We’re the thinkers. We’re the skeptics. We’re the ones who stand on the side of love. We’re the ones who don’t want to be told what to believe.
Yes. Just like every other mainline Protestant I’ve ever met, and I meet thousands.
She’s right, of course. We’re not uniquely skeptical or uniquely thoughtful or uniquely progressive.
But we are uniquely ourselves. Uniquely UUCC. There is no other congregation that is just like this one. And this is a community in which many of us feel uniquely at home, where we belong even as the world around us feels unfriendly and dismaying. As such, it is extraordinary in our lives.
More important to me, though, is our imperfection. I don’t even like the word “perfect”—fraught as it is with judgment and unachievable standards that lead its pursuers to perpetual fretfulness. Rather than perfection, I value meaning and sincerity. I want to share time with people who are real and truthful and unpretentious. People who take worthwhile risks and make mistakes and learn from them.
We don’t strive for perfection in our religious exploration. We do strive for other things—understanding, connection, belonging, justice, peace, equity. Progress, growth, deepening. Even excellence, in some things. But not perfection.
And I wouldn’t have it any other way. Thank you for being imperfectly you. Just as I am…