The May big question over at the UU Salon (uusalon.blogspot.com) is
What is a soul?
Does it exist before we are born? Does it disappear when we die? It is unchangeable, or capable of growing/shrinking/strengthening? Can you lose your soul, or gain one?
I’m at a stage in life where I’m most distracted with the questions of this life (Is there enough bread for toast? When are my library books due? How can I better practice what I believe and still make it to carpool?)– I’m perfectly fine with a sense of mystery for the before/afterlife.
As a religious educator and a parent, I know that we are all born with a soul, each one unique and beautiful. It is the job (and great honor!) of a religious community to hold these souls, carefully but loosely, supporting them and helping them to discover the world.
I would not say that souls shrink, but I do think they can get buried (and perhaps a bit wrinkled or spindled) under all the Other Stuff of life. Sometimes they’re purposely covered up as a last-ditch effort at protection. Sometimes they’re just set aside and forgotten in the too-much-to-do, gotta-get-through-the-game-of-life.
And again, there is work for the religious community. How do we elevate the care and maintenance of souls? How do we encourage our congregants to value their own, as well as those of others? How do we make a safe space for souls within our doors, and out in the world?
UU Salon: May 2010, "What is a Soul?"