Inflammatory Comments R Us!
Anyway, it has been very hard to write, as the whole story is really a book and who has time to write a book, and who in the world wants to read a book about me? No one. Okay, maybe my mom.
At one point in the essay I ask why Unitarian Universalists would "go out of their way to construct a religion intentionally bereft of theology, rendering themselves a quasi-religion and many of their churches temples of denial, hypocrisy and crimes against memory."
Ouch. Them's fighting words. I 've been chewing my cud on them for some long minutes now, and I think, well that's what I mean, so that's what I think I'm going to say. I don't know how else to put it. What do I mean by "bereft of theology?" Well, I mean exactly that. I mean no theological discussion allowed. Not even a lively and mutually respectful inquiry about what we might mean by "God," why many of us reject "that" God, and why some have no God concept and all. No God allowed, period. It's gotten better, but for much of my growin' up years, this was the norm everywhere I went. We were the great project in non-theistic religion -- which might not have been a disaster -- but we did it with such arrogance, such certainty that secularism was the wave of the future and baby, we were hanging TEN! Religion was OUT!
Wasn't THAT prophetic!
What do I mean by a "quasi-religion?" I mean, again, the "we meet on Sunday mornings, we sing hymns and hear a sermon and take an offering, and we're tax-exempt, but we're THE RELIGION FOR THE NON-RELIGIOUS."
Isn't *that* cute? That was actually -- I'm not making this up -- the title of a very popular brochure we actually used to provide to NEW MEMBERS.
What do I mean by "temples of denial, hypocrisy and crimes against memory?"
Just this: "We're the non-religious religion -- we don't have a creed, we're theologically open, we really accept everyone, and ... excuse me? Did you say 'Christian?" Did you say 'Bible?' Oh, well that was something some of us did a long time ago, but those who did mostly approached the Bible with a pair of scissors*, and we've never observed traditional Christian practices in our church."
Pardon me, ma'am, may I show you the archives of your very own congregation's orders of worship? Was that a lapse in knowledge, or an intentional obfuscation of a past that makes you distinctly itchy?
And I'm sure you want to revise that "welcome and affirming" spiel. I think what you mean to say is, "We welcome and affirm you if you're willing to speak our language, conform to our politics, and share a sneering distaste for anything that could be vaguely described as traditional religion."
Disclaimer: I haven't seen nearly so much of this behavior lately, and this is in no way a reflection or report of conditions in my current congregation which is perfectineveryway.
*= P.S. Despite what you have heard or seen on any number of T-shirts, Thomas Jefferson was NOT a Unitarian!! He said he thought it would become a very popular religion for thoughtful lads and lasses in America someday, but he was not one himself. Practically speaking, for God's sake, there was no such formal denominational designation in his lifetime. He was theologically unitarian. And a Deist. 'Taint the same thing.