The book of the month for December, 2012 is A House For Hope by John Buehrens and Rebecca Parker. The authors write in the introduction "Our shared hope in this book is that, by reintroducing people to the forgotten theological resources of progressive religion in North America, readers will gain some of the resources that a seminary education can provide and will strengthen their social activism by becoming more firmly rooted in community ritual, and faith." p.xviii
On page ix they write, "Effective work for social change requires people of faith who are theologically literate and engaged. To that end, this book provides a primer in progressive theology."
Buehrens and Parker use the metaphor of a house and divide their books up into six parts corresponding to the parts of the house such as the garden, the sheltering walls, the roof, the foundations, the welcoming rooms, and the threshold. They write, "Theology, we suggest, is architectural - it provides a framework for human life. It is also ecological - it creates an interactive system in response to a specific environment."
I had fallen away from my Unitarian Universalist faith for several months for a variety of reasons, but feel the spirit calling me back. If is a faint call that I can barely hear but I can sense it. Having been raised as a Roman Catholic and drawn to Unitarian Universalism in the second half of my life I have felt attracted but have found little substance, nothing deeper that is expressed directly or easily, and I am wondering if this is the primary reason that the denomination has remained so small - there is nothing that speaks to people or doesn't speak deeply enough to be spiritually nourishing.
Buehrens and Parker quote Sara Robinson on page x who says that Americans yearn for a deeper narrative describing their cultural story. UUs do not have a creed nor as defined a structure as other churches and so what it stands for seems more ephemeral, more idiosyncratic, and therefore provides no collective understanding that binds people together in meaningful relationship. The only thing, in this regard, which I find helpful is the seven principles which we covenant to affirm and promote.
Questions for consideration:
- What is it that binds UUs together in relationship? What works for you?
- What is your understanding of what church is, how it should function, what role it plays in yours and other people's lives?
- Do you agree with Buehrens and Parker that theology should promote social activism and social change?