A recent Facebook interaction caught my eye.
Robin Bartlett Also, if the top ten factors that millennials cite that help make up their spiritual identities include prayer, the Bible, and their relationships with Jesus, perhaps it is time we started including prayer, scripture, and ways to have a stronger relationship with Jesus in our UU churches.(To be clear, I know Robin, but don't know Aimee personally.)
Aimee Stubbs Goodson For me, "prayer, the Bible, and their relationships with Jesus" would translate into UU terms as ritual or spiritual practice, our multiples sources of wisdom, and opportunities for spiritual deepening, like small group ministry.
What struck me was this process of "translating". Prayer, the Bible and relationship with Jesus "translate" into UU terms as ritual etc.
But at the same time, "Jesus, Pray and the Bible" do not translate into the UU terms of small group ministry, undefined ritual and world scripture. It's not like that UUism is the blank and empty ideal forms of religious practice into which anyone can pour whatever content they like.
In Singing the Living Tradition #113 (Where is Our Holy Church?), a system that equated the pillar concepts of 19th century Protestantism in laid out.
Church = that point of unity where diverse races and classes unite as equals
Scripture = wherever human hearts are inspired by truth
the Holy One (Jesus?) = everyone who rise to set the captives free
the Holy Land = the human soul
Paradise = our aspirational vision of justice.
Another set of equations is laid out in the most commonly used covenant of our churches:
Doctrine = Love
Prayer = Service
Sacrament = Seeking Truth
Instead "translating" traditional religious concepts in broader, more sterile generalizations (Prayer=Ritual), these historic documents specify and humanize religious concepts in contemporary realities. They move "religion" out of the church and into the street. This move was the signature move of 20th century humanism, and it cannot be undone, nor should it be.