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Wednesday, May 26, 2004

Sinkford responds to Parker.

I hadn't been paying close attention, so this may not be news to some of my readers, but Unitarian Universalist Association President Bill Sinkford has responded to Rebecca Parker's letter in the first exchange in what appears to be a series on the "language of reverence." Both letters are pdf documents that will download directly to your computer. (We had discussed Parker's letter earlier on this site.)

The most interesting passages in Sinkford's response, in my view, come near the end:

There are, for me, at least two important threads woven into the fabric of this conversation. One is whether we can name the holy, can we speak of that which transcends our ego and which calls us to the making of justice? Can we speak about God? But there is a second thread. Can we engage with the Judeo-Christian tradition? Can we reflect on those stories, using them to help us grow our souls, just as we reflect on stories from every other faith tradition on the planet? Or, because they carry too much emotional baggage, must be [sic] avoid the challenge and the wisdom of the tradition out of which we grew? I believe that both of these threads of conversation need to be a part of our dialogue.

Sinkford concludes by asking Parker: "What would Unitarian Universalism miss, what spiritual issues would we fail to address if we elected to avoid the Judeo-Christian tradition on our spiritual journey?"

Great questions! In response to the two threads he identified, we have no choice but to name the holy. The danger isn't in naming the holy, it's in believing we control, comprehend, or can direct the holy — believing, in other words, that naming is the same as owning. We simply must speak about God. And as long-time readers of this site know, I can't imagine being a Unitarian Universalist who neglected the biblical traditions. Of course I think UUs should be engaged with these sources, but I wonder what you think.

Copyright © 2004 by Philocrites | Posted 26 May 2004 at 6:24 PM

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May 26, 2004 09:11 PM | Permalink for this comment

Jesus and the prophets were some of the snarkiest mothers ever, and I can't turn that down. And would we even have a social justice tradition in the West if not for the Judeo-Christian tradition? MLK wasn't secular, after all.


May 27, 2004 05:31 PM | Permalink for this comment

I'm more and more convinced that, whatever you believe about the value of the Judeo-Christian tradition, it is not possible to not engage with it. It is so ingrained into Western Civiliztion that if you grew up in this hemisphere in this century (or the last) it is a part of your background. I've encountered many who would prefer to pretend that their encounters with the Judeo-Christian tradition never happened (and at face value, hearing some of their stories, I can't blame them). However, I feel this approach to be dishonest at best, downright unhealthy at worst. If we cannot engage where we've been, we cannot address where we're going.

Ike Stephenson:

June 10, 2004 11:14 AM | Permalink for this comment

Parker's comments strike me as academic and backward looking. Her money quote is so academic and inside I'm not quire sure what it means.

Sinkford meanwhile is practical and forward looking. If I am not mistaken the Judeo/Christian heritage is part of our so called living tradition.

I think this is part of UU's prefering to talk about rather than honor diversity. We mention Christianity and then proceed to get the heebie jeebies if we actually here it's words used by UU's.

UU's need to either honor the diversity they make claims to or revise our thinking so we are not as hypocrirical.

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