Why I have hope for Unitarian Universalism

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What if, instead of trying to create religious space for everyone to “believe what they want”, we UUs were to build a church around the idea that every person’s beliefs and experiences contribute to the diversity of our spiritual community and thereby strengthen it? What if instead of tolerating our differences — Humanists, Buddhists, Pagans, Christians, and so on — we looked across the aisle to find the object of our reverence in the faces of the people whose spirituality is different than our own? What if the object of our worship is neither God nor our own egos, but that elusive wholeness called “spiritual community”, that which transcends our individuality and becomes greater than the sum of its parts? Is that not a manifestation of “Spirit of Life” — life evolving, life in all its diversity? Could that be our “transcendental ideal”? Might that not fill the “God-shaped hole”? [Read more...]

A Devotional Practice with the World at its Center

From my visit to Muir Woods

I realized that devotional practice is not limited to deity-centered religion. There can be an earth-centered or nature-centered kind of devotion too. What I needed was to develop a devotional religious practice, not toward gods, but toward the world. I needed to embrace the world as my Beloved, as my waiting lover. The world is that Divine Other I have been seeking who can draw me out of my ego. And I need a religious practice that will affirm, encourage, and sustain this embrace. [Read more...]

Unitarian growth and Pagan (dis)organization

Over at The Wild Hunt, Jason Pitzl-Waters has posted about the growth of the UU over the last 10 years, a growth of 15%.  This is notable in the face of the general decline of other liberal denominations.  When you factor in about 10% population growth, that’s still real, albeit modest, growth.  “Apuleius Platonicus” points [Read More...]

“One needful thing”, Part 3: Letting go of the side of the pool

In Part 1, I traced the development of Unitarianism since the early 19th century to the present and argued that UUism has, since its inception, been characterized by what William Channing called a “too partial culture of the mind.”  In Part 2, I argued that the “one needful thing” for contemporary humanistic UUism is a [Read More...]

“One Needful Thing”, Part 2: UUism and the Transformative Experience

In Part 1, I traced the development of Unitarianism since the early 19th century to the present and argued that UUism has, since its inception, been characterized by what William Channing called a “too partial culture of the mind.”  I hinted that the “one needful thing” for UUism is enthusiasmos or personal abandonment, which I [Read More...]

An infant dedication and second thoughts on Unitarian Universalism

Last week, I went to town on the excessive rationalism and the lack of “poetic enthusiasm” (William Ellery Channing) in the Unitarian Universalist church.  But as I sat in the service this past Sunday, I felt that I had been unfairly harsh last week. For the past year, we have had a young interim minister [Read More...]


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