Friday, June 27, 2014

The future of Unitarian Universalism is based on the Universalist belief in God's forgiveness for our brokenness - everyone's not just some

I appreciate Galen Guengerich's effort to say something meaningful about God in his book, God Revised, but, for me at least, he misses the boat. He writes that his idea of God does not include the idea that God is some supernatural magician controlling the universe. I agree. He writes that God created the Natural Laws and the more we, humans, understand these Natural Laws scientifically, the more we understanding the workings of the universe, i.e. God. I am not sure. Science studies what is out there and religion studies what is within. Jesus said that the kingdom of God is within you, not out there among the stars and galaxies.

The Perennial Philosophy also points us within, not without, in our search for the Unitive Godhead.

Unitarian Universalism has become, unfortunately, more about social justice, and progressive causes than it has about the spiritual search for the essence of our being. In that, it has become a religion that focuses outward rather than inward, and it ceases to be a religion and has become a civic organization like the Rotary, Kiwanis, Lions, and Elks. These civic organizations are about doing what is good for business and the community. They are our secular religions.

Guengerich tries to base his model of the new revised God on an appreciation of our utter dependence as human beings and interdependence which is his view should evoke a sense of gratitude. I don't see this gratitude in our secular culture other than in response sometimes to crisis if people can overcome their fear. But in this time of rapid social change, fear and anxiety is palpable in American Society whether we fear "terrorists", or immigrants, or felons, or anybody or anything unfamiliar. A fearful people is not a grateful people and there is a huge leap required to get from fear to gratitude, and religion, especially Unitarian Universalism is not helping much in helping people and our society bridge that gap.

What is needed is forgiveness. It is in forgiving that we give up our resentments, our grievances, our envy, our competitiveness, our jealousies, our fears, and we begin to see our brothers and sisters on this planet as our selves and we act on a deep belief that we are all in this thing called Life together. Excluding some and favoring others does not work in the long run for anyone, and yet our society thrives on the bogus idea of specialness, some people are more special than others.

If Unitarian Universalism is to grow and thrive it needs to get back to and expand on its Universalist roots that we all go to heaven and we all are loved by God who has no favorites in spite of what our egos tell us. Our Universalist faith is based on the idea that we are all forgiven our stupidities, our mistakes, and God welcomes us all home even the stray and lost sheep, and the prodigals.

A religion for the postmodern time eschewing totalizing certainties must be based on forgiveness and if it can do that, then we can all gratefully celebrate.

My Kind Of Church Music - "I'm Sorry, Brenda Lee


  1. The idea of forgiveness being the basis of Universalist theology is very simple but often overlooked. Perhaps the reason it has been overlooked is because of the UU tendency to eschew the idea of expiatory redemption. While the idea of expiatory redemption is a pernicious cancer in Christianity, it should not cloud our understanding that forgiveness is necessary if we are to overcome our guilt about separating ourselves from the Love of God.

    Thank you for this essay. I believe that it articulates a very important idea and I hope that it sparks wide and deep thinking and serious discussion in UU circles and beyond.

  2. Love your church music! Never know what I'll find, but it speaks to me, just about every song. Thanks so much for all you do with this site.