One of the best things about being a Unitarian Universalist in Wyoming is the pleasure I experience when meeting someone who is surprised to learn there is a doctrine-free, inclusive, and welcoming church nearby. Because Wyoming is filled with 24-7 wide open spaces, there is an understated awareness of how the land and sky feed our individual and collective spirit.
But for all the satisfaction I get from being a Wyoming UU, there is still a lot of work to do. By work I mean our brand of evangelism – a sharing of what our faith community has to offer those who would be seeking a spiritual home. And this is one of the passions I bring to my Wyoming UU ministry.
Through the years, I have learned it is possible to be theologically liberal in a politically conservative state because so many of us have two very important things in common. First, thanks to the cowboy mythology, we live in a culture built around a heritage of rugged individualism, which is very compatible with our first principle: valuing the inherent worth (and capability) of every person.
Second, I believe all of Wyoming is sacred ground and as such, we belong to it. Before the cowboys and homesteaders arrived, the relatives of our Native American friends and neighbors lived and flourished within the wide-open spaces precisely because their world view was not constructed around the belief the earth belonged to the humans. This understanding is very compatible with our seventh principle, UUs understand and respect the interconnected web of all creation.
Today, Wyoming’s Unitarian Universalists, and many of our neighbors and friends, are at a very important crossroads in our history. Wyoming’s dependence on the fossil fuel industry is changing and those of us who are brave enough to share a broader, more inclusive, and more diverse vision of Wyoming must do so. To keep the light of our spiritual presence and our reasonable faith all for ourselves, is not who we are. We are called to do more, to put our faith into action.
What an exciting and wonderful time in history it is for Wyoming’s free-faith community because the opportunity to make a difference is all around us. A truly shared ministry informed by reason, hope, compassion, and love with the goal of right relationships between our neighbors, friends, and this beautiful land on which we live is not only our inspiration, it is our obligation! This is an evangelism I can live with!