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...]

The baby is the bathwater: Why I haven’t joined the Unitarian church

BabyandBathWater

It seems to me that, in religious matters, we just can’t throw out the bathwater without throwing out the baby too. Perhaps, in some sense, the baby is the bathwater. Because religion is a human endeavor and we humans are mixed bag, it seems there is no separating the good and the bad — at least not entirely. I wonder if it’s really possible to have the enthusiasm, the passion, and self-transcendence without at least risking dogmatism, literalism, and intolerance. [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...]

The Grass is Always Greener: What Unitarianism is and what I wish it were

crooked-path

Sometimes, going to my Unitarian church on Sundays feels like an act of “spiritual suicide.” I am grateful for what Unitarianism is, even while I wish it could be more. [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...]

Why Unitarians Can’t Dance: Spirituality

Have I not seen the sky and sea Put on a look as hushed and stilled As if some ancient prophecy Grew close upon to be fulfilled? – “Have I Not Seen”, Don Marquis, UU Hymnal #337 I recently came across the following passage from John Trevor’s autobiography, My Quest for God.  In it, he [Read More...]


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