Anyone that has ever stepped in to a Unitarian Universalist church and spent some time there will know the age old debate: The Humanists vs. The Theists. It’s the most anti-climactic battle of philosophies and one I’ve found few people truly want to engage. Keep in mind that many “un-churched” and millenial folks find the whole debate to be baffling in the first place. But it’s a discussion, an argument, a heated exchange that I am familiar with as a minister. I remember I once responded to the question “What do I wish someone told me before I entered seminary?” with “Trust in God.” A fellow seminarian chimed in: “If anyone had told me that I would’ve thought I mistakenly went to a Christian seminary.” I almost feel like that little exchange there highlights the problem and nothing else needs to be said.
It is true that most Unitarian Universalists do not affirm a traditional “God” figure. Whether or not they use the word itself is another discussion for another day. The short answer is that our use of religious language is all over the map — and that’s a good thing. But for many Unitarian Universalists, such as myself, the image of God as a wholly benevolent, almighty, loving, and ever-present being that rules the Universe simply does not compute. Where we go from that viewpoint is truly up to the person: agnostic, atheist, naturalist, humanist, choose your label and there are many. However, there is one aspect of this discussion that frustrates me. Often times it feels that we are “beyond God” in the life of our congregations. I find this to be so completely misguided. Read the rest of this entry »