I stumbled over a post by WordPress blogger Wondertwisted yesterday.
I thought of adding this comment to her post, “Dear John letter to UUism” but it began to run so long I figured I’d just use it as a post here for my readers as well. Her post describes her painful decision to leave UUism and why. I think she is spot on.
You know, Cindy I thought of your post all day and much of this morning. And like I said in an earlier comment, I agree with what you say but what I’ve thought most of is the bigger question, that is: where has Unitarian Universalism failed you and others who feel like you do.
Full disclosure: I am a lay leader in my congregation and have been one of those who have side-stepped so many issues for fear of upsetting someone’s delicate sensitivities that I have not stood up against what I believe is a wrong direction for UUism in my congregation and as a whole.
I think there is a systemic problem with UUism. Its current incarnation is flawed. In my opinion, it comes down to at least these three things.
1) We have no dogma. We have nothing that we all collectively say, “we believe (this) . And to be part of this religion you must believe (this) .” Sure we have the seven principles but it is not the same as what the Abrahamic religions have in this regard.
Our lack of dogma is what we embrace and vocalize to the mountains, yet just as much as it is a medicine; it is also a poison. We MUST change our mindset about not having a shared, common belief that we find so sacred that we would die for it, were it trampled or defamed. If we do not, we are not bound. I believe there will eventually be a schism or at least a significant drop in membership and this faith will fade into nothingness.
2), We have placed social justice / political liberal activism above religion, worship and salvation. The tail is wagging the dog!
Because a person believes gay people should marry doesn’t mean they should be a UU. Because you believe people should earn a fair wage doesn’t mean you should be a UU. The list could go on.
It should be the other way around. It should be I am a UU and because of that I believe (this) about (this) social/political issue.
3) We have no identity. We don’t know what UUism or being a UU is. We have drifted so far from our roots and painted with such a broad stroke the idea of inclusiveness that we have muddied our identity to the point we can’t see who we should or used to be.
Calling the goddess, Buddhist singing bowls, washing of feet.
Really? [insert eye roll here]
If that’s a personal practice and you feel it is important… that’s awesome. That’s great if it makes you a better person. Leave it at home though.
Spinning dradles or painting ourselves for Diwali is not a UU thing. Fasting during Ramadan… not a UU thing. Pick your favorite other-religion-ritual and place it here → [ ___ ] It isn’t a UU thing.
Let’s be UUs in our sanctuary and leave the snake handling for home practice.