I’d like to have a friendly respond to a post on the excellent blog CUUMBAYA titled “A Pet Peeve I Have About Our denomination” about my home-made UU advertisement on youtube which references famous UU’s (Unitarians and Universalists.)
Read the CUUMBAYA post here.
See the advertisement here.
I’d love if CUUMBAYA would respond back in a little cross-blog dialog. I posted an abbreviated comment similair to the below on CUUMBAYA.
Thanks for the shout-out, Joel.
My reasoning that UUs should embrace our celebrity ancestry is that this lore brings validity, inspiration and identity to an obscure, nebulous, and dying religion. (admit it) :< It’s easier to attend “The church of Thomas Jefferson” than it is to go to “some hippie church some weirdos started in the woods.” Am I right?
Also, I do object to using the term ‘denomination’ to describe UUism. Denomination of what? While Christians comprise a large portion of our membership, we’ve clearly outgrown our Christian ancestry and do not formally identify as a Christian organization in any modern UUA documentation I’ve seen.
So that’s why I think UU’s should do it, and do it loudly and proudly. We love or evolving, democratic religion and are proud of our principles and the fruits they have brought to the world. Of course Susan Bee Anthony doesn’t share a mind with Henry David Thoreau, but nor do you and I.
However, after writing all of this, I’m not sure you object to such references because it’s backward-looking (a worthy objection), or if you feel modern UU’s have no right to claim them ‘on our team’.
How do we identify UUs?
It comes down to how you define UUism. Here are some ways to tie a person to a religion.
2. Active or former church membership
3. Theological pairing
To me, it seems you conditionally need two of the three.
#1 and #2 being extended to our Unitarian and Universalist brethren. (I argue)
#1 also being extended to those unable to attend the church of their choice due to location, etc.
#2 being taken from those who may identify as UU, but represent the opposite of our ideals (like, what if Hitler was UU?) (I know of no one like this and am proud to have so few stains in our past.)
For #3, we should remember and rejoice in the fact that ours is a democratic and evolving religion. We need to have understanding for our ancestor’s short-comings, and remember that most UUs have many healthy theological transitions throughout their lives.
Referencing the free-thinkers who attended the churches of our ancestry is no different than other religions who’s ancestors also shared very different views on the interpretation of their religion. Still, I think you’ll see a consistant theme when reviewing famous UUs: bold, mature, loving thought. I’ve been arguing that the ONE CREED of UUism is CREEDLESSNESS. Read here.
We cast a large net. I’m fine with that. If more people accepted this principle, we’d have more UUs. I dream of a day when people stop shrugging their shoulders and say “I don’t know. Agnostic?” when asked about religion.
“UU. I’m a UU.” That’s the answer I prefer. It both frees them and ties them to community, thought, and love.
Thanks for the post, CUUMBAYA. I’d love to hear your thoughts.
I believe in my right to search for the good, to choose it for myself, and hold it in my heart.
I affirm this right in you as well.
Together we share in the joy of community, the power of reverence, and the challenge of freedom.
This is the promise of my heart extended to you, as we walk on separate paths, together.