Seek and Ye Shall Find
As I travel around Venice these days, I meet a lot of very nice, very religious people, folks who seem thoroughly committed to their way of speaking and thinking and believing and behaving. Of course, I also meet a lot of very nice secular individuals as well, people who give no thought to religion or to matters of the spirit but are equally committed to their own ways of belief or unbelief or whatever they’d call it. I don’t know whether the religious outnumber the secular or vice versa – I simply haven’t bothered to count.
Besides the religious and the non-religious, I meet a lot of other people in my travels as well, people you might call seekers, folks who are still searching and still studying and still open to finding the right path for themselves. Often, like the traditionally religious, these people have their own way of speaking and thinking, believing and behaving. And often, like the purely secular, they are also open to unbelief if that’s where the quest takes them.
In my experience, it’s not that these folks are less committed to learning about life and finding answers to the big questions. On the contrary: when you think about it, it would be much easier to accept someone else’s answers and to quit worrying about it all, wouldn’t it? Doesn’t it seem like much more work to live within the uncertainty and to keep weighing and considering options? But apparently these people are not afraid of work: instead of committing themselves to one and only one philosophical system or theological framework, they are willing to do the hard work of following their own experience and rationality and the advances of science as well as the whisperings of the spirit as guides on a free and responsible search for truth and meaning.
This is a difficult prospect when there are so many tributaries on this river of human experience. It can feel overwhelming, no doubt, when one imagines taking on an exhaustive search through the variety of choices that present themselves to the open heart and open mind. The possibilities seem endless when you know the truth is out there somewhere.
It can certainly be exciting, too, though, if and when you finally find yourself on a stream that is clearly yours.
With all this in mind, there are surely many churches, synagogues, mosques, and temples in our area that accommodate seekers of many stripes. The community of seekers I serve, the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Venice, offers a variety of classes on religious and non-religious topics on Sunday mornings and throughout the week, and we welcome pilgrims wherever they happen to be on their spiritual journeys. Look for us at www.uucov.org, or find another community that can assist you on your path.
Maybe we’ll see you on the beach or in the woods or in the library. We might even see you in church, if that’s where your seeking takes you next.