Remembering Marjorie

Rev. Marjorie Bowens-Wheatley was one of the first mentors I connected with a decade ago.  I have been catching up on reading and in flipping through the UU Christian Fellowship Good News, I saw several remembrances of Marjorie.  President Rev. Dr. Anita Farber-Robertson, who was co-chair of the Racial & Cultural Diversity Task Force with Dr. Leon Spencer in the mid 1990’s wrote of Majorie’s liberation from the narrowness of Unitarian Universalist with respect to Christianity.  A reprint of Marjorie’s obituary from the UUA is on page 6.  On page 7, a wonderful quote from a sermon of Marjorie’s I read once online was provided.  It highlights her personal understanding of christianity in her life.

Today, Jesus remains a central figure of my religious identity.  And yet I don’t often call myself a Christian because there is no agreement on what the term Christian means, either within Unitarian Universalism or without… There are conservative and liberal understandings of the Jesus story and Christian witness, and none of these has any exclusive claim on Jesus or those who seek to follow him.

In my Christian witness, no one’s soul (or spiritual salvation) is dependent on a particular ritual, obligation, or statement of belief.  There is no giant cop up in the sky dictating who will go up and who will go down.  And yet I have been moved to tears by liturgical expressions of the story of Jesus and his work as a mystical teacher.  It’s most accurate to say that I am a nominal Christian who has also found truth and wisdom in pre-Christian and mystical religions, earth-centered spiritualities, religious humanism, womanism, and other theologies of liberation.  I have embraced the spiritual practice of Tai Chi and the wisdom of Buddhist philosophy.  I am a Unitarian Universalist because I do not exclude any particular theology.  As the spiritual says, there is "plenty of good room" at the banquet table.

-The Reverend Marjorie Bowens-Wheatley

Amen – Joseph Santos-Lyons

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