Saturday, May 14, 2005
'Sojourners' reader: 'Unitarian Jihad' misses the mark.
The progressive Evangelical magazine Sojourners reprinted part of Jon Carroll's "Unitarian Jihad" column in its May 4 e-mail newsletter, prompting the following reply in this week's newsletter:
I am part of an organization that works to influence [Michigan] state policy on behalf of low-income people, and the Sojourners e-mails often provide a breath of fresh air during my workday as we fight what often seem to be losing battles. Though I appreciate your analyses and viewpoints immensely, I was disappointed to see that you reprinted the satire "Unitarian Jihad" [SojoMail 5/4/2005]. As a person of faith currently making my spiritual home in a Unitarian church, I would like to say that the author of the satire seems to have no idea what the Unitarians stand for or how they conduct their witness in the world. While it is true that many Unitarians seem to be unaware of the climate of dialogue and the appeal to "faith informed by reason" that takes place in the best of evangelical churches, it is equally true that many evangelicals wrongly see Unitarians as morally relativistic, solipsistic or even anti-Christian (I urge evangelicals who are under this impression to read the Unitarian Universalist Statement of Principles and Purposes.) In fact, Unitarians and evangelicals can and have made common cause in appealing to the moral obligations of people of faith to contribute to a more just society. Divisive pieces like this do nothing to bridge what is often a lack of understanding between the two approaches to faith.
Bless you, letter writer Peter Ruark, for affirming and proclaiming the Unitarian Universalism of the future and downplaying, overlooking, or simply not knowing about the ineffectual dithering of many of us in the more recent past. May your numbers grow!
And may the people who thought, I think I'll check out Unitarianism, after reading about the "Unitarian Jihad" find churches that resemble Ruark's vision rather than the endless church basement discussions of how the world should work that Carroll parodied. We should be better than the jokes about us, but I'm not Pollyanna enough to pretend that, on the whole, we are. Yet.
(Thanks to reader L.R. for calling the letter to my attention.)
Copyright © 2005 by Philocrites | Posted 14 May 2005 at 2:15 PM