My core theology is this: we need each other. There are things we get from being together in a faith community sharing vulnerabilities, strengths, stumbling, soaring, joys, sorrows, discovering, learning, forgiving, encouraging, learning, and grace -- especially grace -- that don't happen the same way in any other community, in my experience. I think it has to do with expectations, and covenant, and believing in the original blessing of life.
We're not a religious tradition that believes in original sin, but in the original blessing of all that is possible when we are good stewards of the Earth, and of the interdependent web, of which we humans are a part. Here's an interesting story about grace, and needing each other by Rev. David Bumbaugh:
“The fall from grace, the great disruption of primordial order, the original sin, had nothing to do with eating apples or talking to snakes. The instrument of our fall was a wooden back-scratcher, that piece of wood, bent at the end so one can reach the unreachable spot – there, there, between the shoulder blades, down a little bit lower, now up a little bit, there where the most persistent itch always takes up residence.
Before the back-scratcher, before that simple, infernal device, we, like all our primate kin, depended on others to do for us what we could not do for ourselves: ‘You scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours.’
Before the back-scratcher, before that simple, infernal tool, we needed each other to scratch the unreachable itch. The wooden back-scratcher dissolved the bonds of reciprocity, unloosed the ties of community, and tempted us to believe in our own godlike self-sufficiency.
And God walked in the cool of the garden and saw a primate standing alone. ‘What have you done,’ God asked, ‘that you stand alone?’
‘I have found a back-scratcher,’ said the beast, ‘and now I need no one.’
‘Poor beast,’ said God, ‘now you must leave this garden; in Eden, no one stands alone; each depends on the others.’
And thus began our wandering, our pacing up and down the earth, scratching our own itches, pretending self-sufficiency, trying to ignore the persistent sense of loss, the vague yearning for a primordial order, a world where you scratched my back and I scratched yours. A wooden back-scratcher is poor compensation for the gentle touch of a living hand.”