Sharing Our Theologies
By Sheri Byrd
This past March, fifteen or so Davies regulars and a few others from the community participated in a course called, “Building Your Own Theology.” We met 2 hours each Sunday afternoon, for 5 weeks.
The first day, Reverend Don asked all of us to fill out an index card in the following way:
Upper left corner: Name one religious value you cherish.
Upper right corner: One religious value from your personal history that you have rejected.
Lower left corner: The religion into which you were born.
Lower right corner: One religious value with which you are now struggling and would like to explore.
This simple exercise proved to be intimately soul-searching for most of us. In these simple disclosures, we learned so very much about each other. We also learned, to our relief, that we were a community of people who could trust and support each other without judgment or reservation.
In a following session, we explored critical “religious moments” in our lives, as we each defined that phrase. Another time, we were asked to draw pictures of our images of God at various points in our lives. We also explored various morals, which we all assumed were pretty clear-cut issues, and found that nearly without exception, we could find circumstances where the moral lines blurred significantly.
We each wrote and shared our personal ten commandments, and found they were remarkably similar.
Finally, after exploring the required academic areas of ethics, human nature, and God, plus our personal religious histories, we each wrote our own credo: a personal statement of “I believe,” a guideline by which we each live our own lives.
Each credo was intimate and personal, but the amazing commonality among them was a deep commitment to leaving our credos open-ended, always receptive to learning, growing and changing with life’s never-ending lessons of experience.
Today, several of the participants in the course will share their credos with you. I’d like to thank them ahead of time for sharing these most personal thoughts.
Sheri Byrd’s Theology
I live by the Golden Rule, because the fabric of the universe is woven in such a way that I will eventually feel the effects of all of my own thoughts, words and deeds.
God is both the sentient creator, and continuing designer of the universe, as well as the essence of all that exists within the universe. The more we learn and discover through exploration – and introspection – the more we are able to discern about the essential God.
The soul, the essence of God within each living thing, is timeless, immortal and may choose to incarnate innumerable times as it nurtures itself toward the natural pattern of evolution.
Humans are creatures of free will, but if we choose to act with respect and compassion, and live consciously in harmony with the examples given us in nature, the essence of God within us grows and creates goodness, truth and beauty throughout our lives.
[Other speakers have not yet submitted their readings. Note: Ones’ beliefs often change in time. The Building Your Own Theology class is held often at DMUUC and is open to the public. If you’d like to take this class, please call DMUUC at 301-449-4308.]