Posts

Showing posts from December, 2018

Humanism in Context (Dialectical Theology -- part 3 of many)

Image
A sermon (since converted to an essay) that I wrote in 2015 is useful here. My argument was the sense of being counter-cultural and rebels entered into Unitarian Universalism during the 40's and 50's. We attracted those who were repelled by the effort to impose a Christian Nationalism on the USA, as part of the Cold War.

I note, and the comments received confirmed, that one effect of this origin story for many Unitarian Universalists is the vigilance that many UU Humanists have about any Christian influence in UU theology and liturgy.

Enjoy the essay:

http://www.tomschade.com/p/humanism-in-context-you-know-i-am-very.html

The Cold War re-shapes 40's/50's Unitarian Universalism (2 of many)

Image
Three historical developments re-shaped the Unitarian and Universalist churches of the 1940's and 1950's.

One: the Cold War.

As part of the Cold War, powerful business and political leaders sought to “Christianize” the United States of America — as an ideological counter to Godless Communism.

Kevin Kruse, a professor of History at Princeton, has written a very interesting book, called “Under God” and it is the story of how powerful forces in the USA sought to promote religiosity and public piety in the late 40’s and 50’s.
Here are some highlights of that effort: in the early 1950’s, the phrase “One Nation Under God” was added to the Pledge of Allegiance, and “In God We Trust” was inscribed on our currency. Political and Business leaders met in well-publicized prayer breakfasts, not only at the national level, but in every major city. The National Advertising Council ran radio, TV and billboards urging everyone to attend a worship service at the house of worship of their choice…

Let's Start Here #1 of many

Image
Think about the typical successful Protestant church in the late 1940’s and 1950’s. That church has a healthy membership by our standards. The minister is a white male, and he has a study. That minister has a secretary, a real secretary, not an church administrator, and she manages the great man’s schedule, and even types his letters, answers the church phone. But the rest of that church staff is, by our standard, quite small. Because that church doesn’t actually do very much. Weekdays, the small staff is around during the daytime, but on many nights, the building is empty. There are not a lot of small groups, support groups, or book clubs. The Sunday School program is, by our standards, rudimentary — just simple indoctrination into the faith.

Protestant churches in the 40’s and 50’s were about the Sunday service; and the Sunday service was about the sermon; and the mission of the church was to spread its particular message. The message was some variation of the Christian doctrine. Su…

Dialectical Unitarian Universalist Theology - Introduction

Image
Theology (“words about God”) is a conversation across centuries about what is most important in human life. For most of history, the nature of God was considered to be of supreme importance. After all, if human life was created and controlled by such a higher power, understanding the character and purpose of that power would be crucial.

However, in the 19th Century, the proposition that such a higher power does not actually exist became part of the theological discussion. When the idea of God no longer exists, the theological question becomes “what is most important, now”?

Theological discourse develops in relationship to itself, as theologians try to harmonize theological propositions which appear to be in contradiction to each other. For example, if God creates everything and is good, where does evil come from? Therefore, because theology is forced to harmonize numerous contradictory realities, theology builds toward synthesis, toward systematic theology.

Unitarian Universalist theol…