Monday, February 14, 2005

Do you do UU like I do UU?

I've been thinking recently about my own rigidity toward my actively unrigid faith.

This Sunday, I went to a small UU church in the Midwest and was sort of depressed by what I found. The Seven principles were proudly posted in a most creedlike manner and were referred to that way. Worship committiee members were talking about a future Sunday where someone from the local nature preserve would bring in animals to show off, causing my friend to drily remark that he would probably spend that Sunday at the local art museum. (Don't you wish I were making that up? I do.)

A sign on the sanctuary door said something like "You may hear things you don't agree with. Take what you like and leave the rest" and CC wanted to scream "No! What you like the least is probably what you NEED!"

I was talking to my smart friend Pam about this recently. She is rather conservative religiously and watched my conversion to UUism five years ago with rolled eyes. She assumes that my enthusiasm for UUism can't last and she indicated that the root of her concern was that I seem to have such a very specific idea of what UUism is and how I want to see it practiced.

Maybe I am at times too tough on other churches, and judgmental of congregations that do not achieve the balance of being religion-focussed without forcing theism.




Anonymous said...

Since most people have belonged to several different congregations (I think Unitarians are more mobile than the population as a whole) we tend to have one Unitarian church hardwired in our mind as the church that has UUism right.
I loved the First Unitarian Church in Brooklyn, which was an 1833 gothic revival cathedral with windows by TIffany. I could go on and on about how much I loved the minister and the congregation. It sounds like you had a similar experience in New Orleans with Katy the Wise.
But, we have to learn to accept churches for what they are.

PeaceBang said...

KEEP ON Judgin', Chalice Chick! You are just what this movement needs, a Mystery Worshiper who can call out the weaknesses in some of our congregations as you drop in on them unexpectedly (see Ship Of for the concept of Mystery Worshiper). "Take what you like and leave the rest," is, of course, borrowed word for word from the 12 Step Programs. Evidence of my conviction that many of our congregations are more accurately described as Sunday morning recovery groups -- recovery from religion, specifically. This keeps us focused on what we aren't, what we Don't do and Don't say, and what we Don't believe. Recipe for total irrelevance and institutional death by, shall we say, the year 2050? That's my guess anyway.
Not that I'm taking that prediction lying down or anything.


fausto said...

Ship of Fools is a delightful site, especially the Mystery Worshipper. I've been watching that one for several years now.

MW visited Universalist National Memorial in DC a few years ago, I think right before BITB passed through. "Building Your Own Theology" threw MW for a bit of a loop.