Current Issues in Unitarian Universalism

Current Issues in Unitarian Universalism is the title of my sermon for the upcoming week. I’m really excited about it and most of what I’ll talk about comes from my enjoyable year or so reading UU blogs, and a little from what I learn about/hear about in divinity school.

I would love to see folks all over the country do more sermons like this one in order that we can feel more connected as a movement/denomination/religion. I know that at the church where I am a student intern minister and at my home congregation it would be easy to be very involved in the congregation and really have very little sense of Unitarian Universalism as a whole/as a coherent movement.

If, as I am, we are concerned about growing at least some (okay, or at least not shrinking) it would seem that we would need to have more of a sense of the association/denomination that we are a part of. I’m all for congregational polity, but I’d like to see a stronger sense of people feeling excited to belong to Unitarian Universalism as a whole, rather than only to their congregation.

I think Protestant denominations need a little less of this since it would be hard NOT to sense that you are part of a big movement called Protestant Christianity, and I think there is absolutely no risk of Catholics not feeling like they are not part of a big movement headed up by the lovely Pope Benedict XV. Plus, if you are Presbyterian (or Methodist or whatever), you know what Presbyterian churches in Florida or New Hampshire or Nevada do, in general, and of course if you are Catholic you know that masses look more or less the same. With Unitarian Universalists, things can be soooo different that you might not recognize another church’s liturgy or they may not even have one. All of this is a long way of saying that I think there ARE issues that we face as a religious/spiritual movement, and there are things that unite us. But perhaps more needs to be said in our congregations so that we can understand what these shared concerns are.

If you were going to do a sermon on this, what issues would you highlight?

2 Responses to Current Issues in Unitarian Universalism

  1. Freespirit says:

    Elizabeth, I think we are indeed “moving” in a positive direction (as a “liberal-religious movement.” Early annual membership results for congregations at the UUA website suggest that growth is perking up, and it may well be that we’ll be seeing something akin to the revival of “UU Advance” in the coming months. For one thing, we’re “getting our message out” better than past years, through both words and witness/deeds. Anyone interested in keeping this conversation alive might want to join us over at the following Yahoo discussion group…

    Ron Stevens
    Summerville, SC

  2. Jess says:

    I think a really fascinating and polarizing issue is how we use religious language and how we reclaim such language from conservative Christian religious dialogue. Also how to turn off the “flinch” reflex when the word god is mentioned, or any hint that Jesus was maybe more than just a really cool guy who hung around two centuries ago.

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