Tuesday, June 24, 2008

organized pluralism

I have now sung at a Unitarian Universalist church on a number of occasions, and I have to admit that I have become less and less clear as to what exactly Unitarianism is. I brought this up to my father, his response was "I was raised going to a Unitarian Church and I'm still unclear as to what it's all about". My dad also jokes "What does the Unitarian KKK burn on people's front lawns? A question mark."

On a more serious note however, this is what I've ascertained: the UU's are trying to create a pluralistic community that wished to be faithful/spiritual together. The closest that I can come to liturgy is Humanism.

This embrace of pluralism and humanism leads to some great things; respect, tolerance, and most important social action. I mean the former two in the broadest sense, as there is a tremendous emphasis on respecting the earth as well as fellow human beings. They have actually, Incorporated many Native American ideals into their worship, flowing waters, trees etc.

Anyhow I am a true proponent of pluralism in its purest form. Not relativism, not absolutism, pluralism; it appears to be the only way that we can live not only in a global community but in our more local communities as well.


Lisy said...

I think that you've pegged the UU church exactly. I was raised UU (and an athiest) and they handed out humanist literature in church. Everyone (ourselves included) had subscriptions to The Humanist magazine. Once, in Sunday school a student asked "If more than half of UUs were born Jews, and we don't believe that Jesus is god, what makes us technically Christian?" The teacher said "We follow teachings from the New Testament--like forgiveness, respect, acceptance, humility, and kindness to others."
My father calls it the "humanitarian church." It is. (Too bad I left...)

Alyssa said...

My family went to a Unitarian church until I was about 8 or 9. We left because my parents were attracted to the skepticism part and felt it was getting too new age-ish. I'm glad there's a church that does, as you describe, pluralism rather than relativism.

Also, why are Unitarians such bad singers? They're always looking ahead to see if they agree with the words.

Embly said...

Alyssa, that's really funny!
Last time I sang at a service there, one of the members of the choir was complaining that the reverend had been talking about "the spirit of prayer" too much.
Her reaction was that if people wanted to pray, they should go back to their old churches....
I also agree with your parent's analysis, I think that UU's have the danger of very quickly becoming too new age for my particular taste, but then so does the group that I go to services with in CT...ah hippies...

ayn said...

I remember playing music at an Easter service at the UU church where I attended youth group for awhile in high school, and how Jesus and God were not mentioned once.

What you describe is what I liked in theory about UUism: a spiritual community made up of people who believe all different things. Because that's what the world is, and therefore I think the ideal we strive for should, in many ways, reflect that.

I can't speak for the whole congregation, but some of the people who ran the youth group were bigoted, which was exactly what I felt UUs should NOT be, and that was the main reason I left.