The Divine and the Material World

Sunday’s service at First Unitarian Church of Orlando was on Paganism and Compassion. It is part of a series looking at compassion from various perspectives. Preparing for it got me thinking about how different people perceive the relationship between the divine and the material world. I created a visual showing six possible perspectives, though there are many other possibilities.

The visual is based on something similar that I believe I picked up back when I was taking Unitarian Universalist (UU) Theologies with Rev. Dr. Paul Rasor at Andover Newton Theological School (ANTS) back in the late 1990’s. I want to give him credit as far as it is useful but not hold him responsible for anything my memory (or lack thereof) has done to it over the years.

The combo of the visual and sermon has generated some interesting conversations in the congregation. I find it fun to see how many different ways each of the perspectives can be understood and what else people want in the model.  It’s a great conversation starter.

The audio of the sermon can be heard, as usual, on the 1U website at orlandouu.org . Under the Worship menu choose Sermon Archive – or just click here.

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3 Responses to The Divine and the Material World

  1. Ken Lofgren says:

    A few days before this service, I happened to be reading a book that described another representation of the “Classic Theist” diagram. In this case, the material world and the divine, instead of having a line separating them, would have a line extending from one to the other. Or, more precisely, it would be a line connecting humankind and God. The line represents a relationship between the two.

  2. Ellen says:

    why is an atheist equated with a materialist?

    • Rev. Kathy says:

      Not so much equated as they would both fit in the spot on the spectrum… I think. Remember, this is just a model and all models are limited. Still, I think they are useful to provoke conversation.

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