Unitarian Universalist Congregation
of Northern Chautauqua

companionship on life's sacred journey

Memory is never a precise duplicate of the original…it is a continuing act of creation.
— Rosalind Cartwright

Message From Our Minister

From the Heart

You’ve heard people say: “Trust your gut” or “Follow your Heart.” And I believe there is deep wisdom here, particularly in religious matters. When we use these terms, we are talking about our feelings and our intuition. And the religious life, properly defined, is about feelings and intuition.

Now this reliance on intuition does not rest easy with many Unitarian Universalists, and I share some of this unease. Our religious communities put strong emphasis on the use of reason and science – and quite rightly so.

For me, the way through any concerns here is to rely on what philosopher John Dewey calls “refined intuition.” Dewey urges us to subject our intuitions to careful consideration and reflection.

I recently experienced a great example of this refined intuition. I was in a workshop about spiritual practices and I had a chance to try out a form of what is called “lectio divina.” In this exercise, I consider a passage of scripture – reading it through several times and in different ways. I then notice the words and phrases that resonate most deeply for me. Here’s how one author describes the next steps:

“What thoughts come up as you think about these words? How do they move you? What can they teach you? Really let them sink in as you contemplate them. Is there something you can learn from these words that you can incorporate into your life or your practice?”

In this, I use my intuition to notice what seems to resonate. And then I use my reason and understanding to learn from the experience of this reading – to refine my intuition.

So be willing to stop and pay attention when your gut or your heart seem to resonate with a text, or a part of your lived experience. There may be something deep and important waiting for you there.

Love to all,
Reverend George Buchanan