When the Unitarians and Universalists were debating whether or not to merge into one association a joke was frequently told. The Universalists were afraid of being swallowed up by the Unitarians. The Unitarians were afraid they would have indigestion.
Like all the best jokes, it revealed layers of truth. In any merger, there is always an element of fear that you will lose your identity. In this case, the Universalists were the smaller of the two parties. Being swallowed up was a realistic fear. For the more powerful Unitarians the fear was how would they absorb the Universalists into the denomination.
This was an issue of classism rarely discussed openly, only joked about. For example, Universalists believe God is too good to damn them. Unitarians believed they are too good for God to damn. Unitarians considered themselves to be of the elite due to their social status. They would have looked upon the Universalists with some disdain, as they were lower down the social ladder. If it had not been necessary for survival, I suspect class differences would have never allowed the merger. Continue reading Class and Religion→
In this Age of Trump, for many of us, loving our political opponents seems a step too far. Friends in the US report political differences in their families and life-long friendships are fracturing them, some seemingly beyond repair. This goes way beyond “unfriending” them on Facebook. Marriages are dissolving. Children and parents are estranged. Communities are divided. Political debate has always been a blood sport in the US, but this level of carnage is beyond my experience. Continue reading Loving your political opponent – Creative Conflict→
When John Shelby Spong was my bishop, he visited Japan. When he returned he met with clergy in his diocese to discuss what he learned about Shintoism and Taoism. I remember him saying that the best way to understand one’s own beliefs is to look at them through the lens of someone else’s.