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 Contents: UU World September/October 2002
September/October 2002


The Great Horizon

by Clarence R. Skinner

Most of our life is spent in narrow segments. Our horizon is hemmed about by kitchen walls, office desks, narrow prejudices of race, class, or creed. In religion, these partialisms, broken fragments of life, are lifted into a vast and profound oneness. Our littleness becomes stretched to cosmic greatness. Elemental forces roll through our beings, sensitize our perceiving, and quicken our lives. By a flash of insight we see in common things "the types and symbols of Eternity, / Of first, and last, and midst, and without end."

But one may say, men have struck daggers into each other's hearts because they differed from each other as to the definitions and descriptions of this awful reality, or sublime being. . . . This, however, does not invalidate the fact that religious experience has been and may be one of the profoundest and noblest experiences of the human race. A scalpel may be used to save a man's life or to destroy it. Chemistry may produce bread or bombs; this is no special problem of religion; it is a problem of human nature.

The Rev. Dr. Clarence R. Skinner (1881-1949) is widely regarded as the most important American Universalist of the first half of the twentieth century. This passage is adapted from a 1939 address at Crane Theological School at Tufts University, "What Religion Means to Me," reprinted in Clarence R. Skinner: Prophet of a New Universalism, edited by Charles A. Howe. Published by the UUA's Skinner House Books, which is named after him; available from the UUA Bookstore ($16; 800-215-9076).

 Contents: UU World September/October 2002
UU World XVI:5 (September/October 2002): 20

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