Unitarian Universalism’s relationship to Christianity, part 3.

15 Oct

In the first part of this post, over on the The Lively Tradition, I argued that whether or not we are Christian (which varies depending on how you define Christian), we are part of Christendom and that by saying we are not, we lose some of our power. In the second part, which I posted on this blog, I worked on some of the “so what?” issues.

All that being said, I also think Unitarian Universalism is moving toward something, as was mentioned in the comments on the original post.  Perhaps it is like cell mitosis, only instead of being an exact replica of the original cell, we are evolving into something different.

But I don’t believe we can move healthily in any new direction until we make peace with where we have come from.  Unitarian Universalists have had so many folks who came/come to us wounded and accepting “all religions except Christianity” for so long that, now, as our congregations embrace a more spiritual or theistic humanism it can look/feel like we are going backwards. But I truly don’t think we are – we are healing, which is absolutely necessary for us to move forward with strength and power.

Albuquerque UU, taken by Denis Paul.

Albuquerque UU, taken by Denis Paul.

A Universalist message of loving the hell out of the world is powerful.

A Humanist message that it is our responsibility to do so is powerful.

A Unitarian message of not having to think alike to love alike is powerful.

A Pagan message of we are all connected is powerful.

We need all this, and more.  Not one over/above another.  And not “all except this one…”

Indeed, if we look at our congregations, we see how they vary. Particularly if we break it down geographically, we find vast differences in how our message is incarnated in our congregations.

How wonderful that different aspects of our message appeal in different contexts, geographies, and congregations!  This flexibility, this fluency in a variety of different ways of being religious, gives us strength and power. It makes our faith tradition both unique and highly relevant to contemporary life.

3 Responses to “Unitarian Universalism’s relationship to Christianity, part 3.”

  1. PaulR November 3, 2014 at 1:11 pm #

    I stumbled across your blog this morning and absolutely love it! Some very thoughtful and compelling insights on the relationship of Christianity and Unitarian Universalism. I’m a Quaker like Unitarian Universalism we too are a theologically diverse religion. When people have asked me what is a Quaker?Like so many Quakers I have found myself being very long-winded in explaining Quakerism. Because the question what do you believe? Can’t be answered by anybody really- it is too broad and vague. A rabbi once said: “We are closer to God when we are asking questions than when we think we have the answers.”So when asked what is Quaker? My follow up question,is there something in particular you would like to know about the Quakerism? After some reflection,most of the time people want to know are Quakers Christians? My follow up answer is, Quakerism is rooted in the Christian tradition.(I don’t think there’s any Quaker who would disagree with that) But every attender and member has a different relationship with that tradition. Some of us are very close to that tradition and others for whatever reason are not. Answering the question in this fashion moves beyond a particular dichotomy.Are we Christian? To the question Jesus himself asked”But who do you say that I am?” The answer also creates a space and freedom for the inquirer to contemplate their own relationship on the continuum. We know from experience and the events in our lives that we move at different places and at different times on the continuum .Believe me, this is a big relief.

    • Rev. Dawn November 3, 2014 at 1:13 pm #

      Glad you found me, and what a great answer to give to that perennial question. Thank you!

  2. PaulR November 4, 2014 at 1:39 am #

    In the absence of a formal creed or statement of faith we Quaker have what we call testimonies or shared values that guide our faith and practice.The Quaker peace testimony is for example, is definitely rooted in the life and ministry of Jesus.Who said “Blessed are the peacemakers,for they will be called children of God.” Like God or Christianity each person has to prayerfully discern with the help of the Quaker Meeting their own relationship with the testimonies.

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