Sunday, October 1, 2006
The UU gospel according to Fausto.
Deep in an arcane thread of conversation, Fausto offered this story linking Unitarian Universalism's past to its future. After reading his, do you have a story to offer in response?
If it's down-to-earth, grounded stories that we need to rely upon to save us, here's ours:
We are not the anything-goes, follow-your-bliss New Agers, though we may appeal to some of them. We are not the Thoreauesque transcendental loners, though we may appeal to some of them. We are not the religious humanists or intellectual atheists or logical positivists, though we may appeal to some of them. We are not the wounded ex-Christians escaping religion done badly, though we may appeal to some of them. We are not the countercultural rebels and firebrands, though we may appeal to some of them. We are not the product or continuing tradition of 19th- or 20th-century intellectual rebellions against the prevailing religious suppositions of those eras, though we may appeal to some who would continue to rebel. We are not a community of prophetic scolds whose duty is to publicly name and deplore every sin of the larger society, though we may appeal to some who think of themselves as Jeremiahs.
What we are is what we have always been: the liberal Puritans. We are the First (literally!) Churches in Plymouth, Salem and Boston, and their hundreds of affiliated daughter congregations, still alive and still offering the same vibrant and valid witness that we have for almost 400 years. We stand for redemption by the unlimited power of love rather than a selective gift of grace; by the power of self-improvement rather than the magic of special doctrines; by the diligent nurture of righteous character rather than the passive acceptance of God's favor; by the unceasing search for knowledge, because there is no divine principle which can be contrary to truth; by diligent and selfless service to society, especially its least fortunate members, in humble gratitude for and stewardship of whatever earthly blessings and privileges we may enjoy.
Our history repeatedly shows that the farther away we wander from this, our core identity, the weaker and more enervated we become. But by the same token, in each generation we discover anew that this core is what makes us who we are, and who we have always been, and that when we return to it, we find renewed strength.
Update 10.3.06: Make sure to read the back-and-forth about Fausto's story over at Making Chutney.
Copyright © 2006 by Philocrites | Posted 1 October 2006 at 2:04 PM