In Kate Tweedie Erslev's book, Full Circle: Fifteen Ways To Grow Lifelong UUs, she quotes a person who commented on her survey:
"I wondered why we spent so much time in Sunday school learning about world religions. Why didn't we spend more time on Unitarianism?"
As a newcomer I wondered the same thing.
At the Unitarian Universalist church I attended first, I was asked several times by one of the pulpit fills to "sign the book". When I asked what this involved, he said "Just sign the book. It means you are a member." When I asked what I had to do to become a member he said, "Just sign the book."
Just sign the book?
I had little idea what Unitarian Universalism is. 90% of what I have learned about Unitarian Universalism I have taught myself.
Erslev goes on to write:
"Sharon Hwang Cooigan describes a hunger for depth in Unitarian Universalism that can be met in part by incorporating the broader resouces:
UU young adults ask me: Is Unitarian Universalism strong enough to challenge me? Deep enough to deepen me? Real enough for me to be proud of? Fellowship and comfort are good things, but I can get that at the cafe. I want to know about the religion. I want to feel its power, not just believe in some principles on paper." p.36
I would say that 95% of the Unitarian Univeralist thoughts, feelings, and behavior I have observed and been involved in is very anemic. It offers nothing that can't be gained somewhere else. I find many people who say they agree with UU values and ideas but see no reason to join our church. It's as if we aren't doing anything really important which is worth the time and investment of energy.
And so I struggle to figure out how we make our faith deep and real. I sense that the theology and practice is there, but I can't find it clearly. I pick up tid bits here and there, but nothing really substantive to sink my teeth into if you know what I mean.
Like the adult children in Erslev's survey, I want something with power that can give meaning and purpose to my life. Unitarian Universalism is too watered down, too accepting of other religions, philosophies, ideologies, without having much of a defining tradition, structure, and beliefs of its own.
It seems paradoxically that Unitarian Universalists defining strength, inclusiveness, is also its biggest weakness. It reminds me of the bumper sticker, "If you don't stand for something, you will fall for anything."