I heard Annie Lamott say that the opposite of faith is not doubt, but certainty. Faith entails belief in the unknowable. God, at least my understanding of God, is that God is unknowable. God is a mystery beyond understanding. Perhaps we have glimpses or inklings of what God might be like, but God is unfathomable to us human beings.
And yet, there are those, who claim to know who God is and what God wants. They say they know this from a book as if God could be captured in some text. This seems like a very small God who amounts to little beyond a character in a novel, a superhero in a story.
In the spiritual life, we humbly approach the mysterious. We are filled with reverence, with awe, with joy at the prospect of the transcendent. We have faith and hope in love. For the best description of the force we call God might be love and Jesus tells us that the way to the kingdom is "to love as I have loved." As we look around at the expressions of religion today, it seems that a good criterion to use to assess their authenticity is the amount of love they facilitate and express.
Is Unitarian Universalism known as a loving religion? I think of it as more intellectual and emotionally distant and reserved. Who are the loving UUs we could point to? There are some like Clara Barton. Any others?
Rev. Galen Guengerich says that the Jews are known for their obedience, the Muslims for their submission, the Christians for their love, and that UUs should be known for their gratitude. I tend to agree with him. However gratitude isn't born out of love, but out of appreciation and perhaps obligation which comes from an ethic of reciprocity. Love is a finer thing especially if it is unconditional. True love takes one out of his/her ego and shares with the beloved as the natural state of things.
I want to be a UU who is grateful but who also takes it up a notch and who is loving even when I am not grateful. Jesus says that the way to the kingdom is to "Love as I have loved."