Great Moments on the Inexorable March Toward “BothAndia” — Eastern European Roots

“BothAndia” is an idyllic alternative to “EitherOrland,” and there have been some significant turning points in our early heretical UU history that aimed humanity in that fortuitous direction, although certainly not without resistance. 

by Jaco B. ten Hove, co-minister
Cedars Unitarian Universalist Church, Bainbridge Island & Greater Kitsap County, WA
— February 19, 2012 —

Just so there’s no confusion, if you were to search the internet for references to the term “BothAndia,” you would find mention of it almost entirely in works associated with me, so I have to be accountable for whatever fallout there is from this invented expression. It has become one of my favorite words, along with “inexorable” (which means steady, unstoppable)—and today I get to use them both in the same sermon title!

I find BothAndia to be a very handy and expressive tool, especially as an adjective — “bothandian.” But more than that, it helps me highlight an important, maybe even essential liberal religious value: inclusion. And I will draw your attention momentarily to some early Eastern European roots of the Unitarian side of our religion, by profiling two pivotal moments that are decidedly “bothandian.”

I believe the arc of the universe is leading us—slowly, perhaps, but inexorably — toward BothAndia, an idealized state of being, where “both/and” solutions to apparently oppositional dilemmas are eagerly sought, found and utilized to strengthen the common
good. This inclusive vision is in contrast to reliance on more closed and often absolutist “either/or” responses to life’s challenges.

My hope is that after I do this here, any of you will be at least a little bit better able to explain what we stand for and why our heritage matters, both then and now. To be able to adequately speak up for our religious perspective in the current national climate is a challenge I hope none of you will shy away from, since we are the latest generation of both caretakers and innovators of a “freedom that (both) reveres the past (and) trusts the dawning future (even) more” (from Hymn #145, “As Tranquil Streams”).

Read the whole sermon (PDF)