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The Chant at This Sacred Ritual Is Cheers

It was a Saturday evening, and attending would mean spending two days in a row in church. Nevertheless, many of the congregation gathered in fellowship for a sacred ritual—the annual beer contest. Jesus had wine. We have beer ... well, except for one couple who brought wine made from grapes on their own farm. That’s what it's like to be a Unitarian Universalist. Organize a beer contest, advertise it for weeks, clearly explain the rules ... and there surely will be a group that brings wine. This behavior actually fits two of the seven principles that guide our congregation’s time together: the interdependent web of all existence, and a fair and responsible search for meaning. We accept that hops and grapes inhabit the earth together, and we can acknowledge that as long as the wine growers really questioned and really clearly understood their commitment to the grape instead of the hop, they can be with us. The magic of it, where the leap of faith comes in, is that the oenophiles knew it would be okay to show up. You don’t get that in every church. We’ve been holding this beer thing for four years …

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