Sermon #21 (2nd April 2017 at Essex Church / Kensington Unitarians)
This morning’s service is entitled ‘A Transformative Faith’. For the next ten minutes or so we’re going to ponder the question: “What does it mean – what could it mean – for religion to be ‘transformative’?” More specifically: “what might transformative religion look like for Unitarians? People like us?” What might it mean for you? For everyone here today (or listening at home later)?
According to the Centre for Philosophy of Religion at Notre Dame University: ‘A transformative experience is an enduring reorganization of a person’s thinking—for instance, their beliefs, attitudes, traits or emotions—that substantially alters life as they experience it or live it.’
I wonder if anybody here today (or anybody listening at home at a later date) thinks about their religious faith, their Unitarianism, in those sort of terms. We Unitarians are not generally known for dramatic conversion experiences… I don’t know how many of you would say you have had your ways of thinking permanently reorganised or your life substantially changed by Unitarianism (though – honestly – I would say that both of those things did happen for me – my life is very different to what it would have been had I not found my way to this church)… but perhaps some of you will have experienced more subtle changes over a time, a more gradual giving of your heart to this place and these people, to this tradition, and our wider Unitarian family. So let’s start by thinking about some of these more modest forms of religious ‘transformation’ that you might have experienced.