The cow is officially birthed!!
I am in the finishing stages of editing and I only have to put together the bibliography.
It was a painful paper to write, which is why it took so long.
It moved me to a final assessment of Ralph Waldo Emerson's contribution to Unitarianism as a fatal blow to the 19th century religion that I know and love through Channing, Ware and Clarke.
I had known this for a long time, but it wasn't until I studied it deeply this summer that I could see that RWE's total failure to develop a doctrine of the church along with his doctrine of the self would eventually kill classical Unitarianism. It's not his fault; he resonated with a lot of people and they beatified him and became Emersonians who called themselves Unitarians. They became the majority among us.
Unitarians were devoted to disciplined self-culture. Emerson, by the time of his 1838 "Human Culture" lectures, had given up the idea of discipline as the means to moral progress.
It's too complex to go into here, but I've learned two things:
1. My blogging is very much like RWE's journaling. I do it every day to talk to myself, but I'm lucky in that I have you out there to talk back, and he didn't have that.
2. I believe in my claim that, in the most recent iteration of the UU Principles, with their failure to refer in any way to a transcendent Source of love, their failur to mention love at all, and their entirely humanistic, horizontal orientation, classical Unitarianism literally, officially and irretrievably flat-lined in the 1980s.
There's a LOT more to say, and I will be happy to share my paper with those who want to see it. I think I will be, anyway.