The Closest I'll Ever Get

The Rev. David Weissbard was  chosen by his colleagues to speak for the ministers who marked their
50 year ordination anniversary. This was at the 25/50 UUMA service on Wednesday morning at Ministry Days, right before General Assembly. Being chosen is a high honor, and people pay attention to the sermon.

So, I was honored that Mr. Weissbard quoted me in his sermon. It's as close as I am ever going to get to that 50 year honor. (I will be 100 when I have stacked 50 years in ministry, and while some people make it to 100, they are most likely skinny at 66. Not me.)

Here is the paragraph of mine he quoted.

The "language of reverence" is now our vocabulary. President Sinkford was roundly criticized for suggesting that we needed to break out of the straitjacket of humanist language, but then, we did. We're all about "calls", "faith", "mission", "prayer", "spirit", and "soul". Admittedly, we are probably sloppy in our usage, but everyone kind of gets what each other is talking about, and goes along with it.

It's from an August 2014 post called: The Emerging UU Consensus.  The turn toward theistic language was one of 8 points of consensus that I listed in that post.

Mr. Weissbard emphatically declared that he was NOT part of that consensus, which is certainly his prerogative. He seems to think that the reason why Unitarian Universalism has not grown has been its movement away from humanism and its drift into being a mild form of liberal protestantism. He pointed to the Sunday Assembly movement as what was possible down the road we have not taken.

There are several theories out there why Unitarian Universalism has underperformed its aspirations and potential. They are varying answers to the question "what is wrong with us?", which has been the animating question of all our thinking for decades.

I am in the Robin Williams school.


  1. Yeah, the UU Humanist Association has been promoting that argument for quite a while. Though I will answer to "humanist" (I prefer "religious naturalist" because it's a much more 7th-Principle-friendly concept), I don't buy it. Being able to agree on values while cheerfully disagreeing about beliefs is one of our greatest strengths.


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