I’ve been neglecting the ole blog lately, (dontcha hate it when real life intrudes into your net time?), but I have been following my favorite blogs, and Shawn Anthony’s “My Adieu to the UU Path“ struck hard from two different directions. The first was his tipping point, which he explains in Elizabeth‘s Little Blog :”"The above" I was criticizing is the senseless act of recklessly smashing together three or four different traditions and naming it something else. I have no problem with a Pagan, Native American Flute Music, and/or Egyptian/Greek/ Christian Labyrinths. When they are all combined it is religiously ridiculous and screams of a lack of a personal center. The dissolution of a center is the tipping point I was point toward.”
This is something I have noticed before in some UU services. There is often an air of spiritual tourism to our acceptance of different paths, an “isn’t that precious” attitude rather than genuine respect. “Sampler” services such as Shawn described are common- but have you ever seen one in which people are invited to kneel to the East on prayer rugs, then offered the wafers and wine of Holy Communion, while a cantor sings? No- and you never will. UU’s take those faiths seriously, while the idea that a Pagan can actually believe what s/he says and is devout never sinks in to gut level. Speaking as a UU seeker and Pagan, we genuinely appreciate the welcome and acceptance, but respect would be nice as well.
His complaint of the lack of a center is something I have noticed as well. My congregation just finished it’s first six-month experiment in small groups, and is now organizing a new batch of small groups. In the first batch, there were many different interests; spirituality, social justice, politics, etc. Over the course of the first six months most of those groups failed to hold their members- except for the spirituality groups. Now there are twice as many, with waiting lists. Church members who had stopped coming to church have now come back- for the spirituality small groups, not for Sunday services. The hunger for this kind of discussion is palpable.
It has been said that there is a God shaped hole in the human heart that must be filled with something, and the longer I live the more I tend to believe it. Some feel that hole as a call to public service, not needing a God... but I believe that for most people the hole is indeed God shaped. I believe that the UUA’s highest purpose should be to help people fill that hole. A creedless faith is uniquely well suited to helping it’s members find their personal credo, and would do more good for mankind in that role than it ever could as just another political action committee. Showing the world that all different faiths can share the same pew is something the world desperately needs, and only we can provide.
Shawn is right; the UUA needs to find it’s center. It needs to reclaim it’s Christian roots, as well as welcoming other faiths- and honoring the atheist’s devotion to mankind. Render unto politics that which is political; let us discuss morality and ethics instead. Let there be an end to both Shawn’s complaint, and complaints such as this one from “Beliefnet“ “Its been a while since I posted here. Our congregation seems to have taken a turn for the worse. The sermons etc. now seem to be strictly political and the spirituality seems to have gone out the door.I am so disappointed as I firmly believe that we need to feed the spirit as well as the conscience.