Friday, August 17, 2018

Is the time ripe for Unitarian Universalist renewal?

The time is ripe for Unitarian Universalist renewal. Unitarian Universalism has been stagnant if not slightly declining over the last couple of decades. More and more UUs have left the faith having become disenchanted with a lack of clarity of its teachings, and a sense of mission and vision.

In American society there are increasing numbers of "nones," people, who on survey, say that they have no religious affiliation. In this sense, America is becoming less religious and yet there is a spiritual poverty in the nation with increases in suicide rates, depression, anxiety, inequality, and pessimism that one's children and grandchildren will not have better lives than the one that parents and grandparents have lived and are living.

The quality of life and sense of well being is stagnant and in spite of social media, the experience of human connection and bonding has deteriorated with an increasing sense of division and polarization in our social lives. The idea of truth, itself, is being questioned with the idea of individual opinion and celebrity pronouncements being the "news" of the day, and the President of the United States tells the nation that the "news" is all fake and journalists, whose job it is is to report the facts, are the "enemy of the American people."

Into this moral vacuum and nihilism steps Unitarian Universalism with its covenantal idea of bonding together to affirm and promote seven principles of uplift and the understanding of existence. Why hasn't Unitarian Universalism attracted more participants and spread its good news about how to create and enjoy the good life? There are many reasons, but perhaps the biggest, is its failure to create a viable institutional structure to support the activities necessary to carry out the mission to sanctify the world and facilitate the growth and holiness of its members.

And so a renewal is called for at all levels of the church. This renewal will consist of:

  1. Review, revision, and re-commitment to the mission of the church.
  2. Thickening of imagination and enthusiasm for the vision of the church.
  3. Development of new activities of education, worship, and service implemented with focus, patience, and persistence to achieve the goals articulated in service of the mission to sanctify the world and promote the realization of holiness of its members.
  4. Delegation of responsibilities and authority to lead, coordinate, implement, evaluate, and adjust activities in goal achievement.
  5. Celebration of efforts and achievements of individuals, churches, regions, and institutional bodies.
The time for renewal is now. The time is ripe. It starts wherever you find yourself. Ask the kindred spirits in your covenantal community to help. Pick your project. Get started.


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