A Coming of Age class interviewed me last Saturday about the process I went through to formulate my faith statement. What an honor! They even wanted us to read our faith statements, so I had the thrill of sharing my thoughts about the Big Questions. Speaking to the Coming of Age students reminded me of a glorious dream-come-true experience I had last fall:
I was walking on Library Mall (on the UW-Madison campus) when a stranger asked me, "Do you have a lot of opinions about things?" I answered the same as any UU: "YES!" Two young men were standing just off the sidewalk, the shorter one holding some sort of contraption. The tall man said, "We would like to ask you some questions about God."
Instant joy! The tall one, Jeff, clipped a microphone to my shirt while Eric lifted the contraption onto his shoulder -- it was an enormous camera. I could scarcely believe my good fortune: young adults were so eager to hear my views of the trancendent mystery and wonder of the universe that they were willing to film me!
But, guess what the first question was: Does He exist?! I immediately explained that God is not necessarily male, that whenever I hear the word "God," I translate that to "He, She, It." I explained that to me, God is an energy, a life energy that flows through all of us, as It does through all living things.
You know what Jeff did? He asked more questions! He seemed genuinely interested in what I had to say, listening as I explained my views on human nature and the nature of God-energy. I told them that I agree with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.: the arc of the universe bends toward justice, that I think the energy is a positive energy, rather than neutral. Jeff even asked me what happens when we die, so I expounded on my current theory: we simply return to pure energy. Period. (After giving him the caveat that no one knows for sure....)
When the interview was over, I had to return the microphone, but other than that it was glorious to be able to state by beliefs and opinions without being interrupted or told that I'm wrong or scoffed at for finding meaning in the word God. Wow!
I was walking on air until I told S what had happened. He was instantly suspicious: Who were those men? Why did they ask those questions? Why did they film my answers? How will the interview be used? Gee, I had not thought about any of that practical application stuff! It wasn't important to me.
It's all about listening. In May, I'll be listening to our youth as they present their faith statements during our standing-room-only Coming of Age worship services.