I have been a member of a Unitarian Universalist church for a couple of months. I started attending this church about two years ago. I really like going to a church where fear is not the motivating factor for membership. I have long thought that the more I learned and read, the less I bought the whole evangelical Christian faith.
The church I belong to has two ministers, one female and one male. Usually, I enjoy the female minister’s sermons more than the male's. He is more emotional and generally lacks focus. He always has a good premise but gets off track and seems to have difficulty getting back to his point. Two Sundays past, he was surprisingly focussed. He gave the best sermon that I have ever heard him give. I even shook his hand and said, “Great sermon.” on the way out the door; usually I either bypass the line or shake hands without uttering much of anything comprehensible. That sermon was the kind of sermon that I started attending that church for.
The title of the sermon was “I’m not a Christian, But…” (You can listen to it online, but the sound is not very good, at least not on my computer.) The sermon was inspired by an article by Robert Jensen, an atheist who has become a member of a Presbyterian church in Austin. The minister talked about his desire to name himself in the same way that Jensen had in a recent article on the Presbyterian church's website. . Jensen calls himself secular Christian or a Christian atheist. For a long time, I have been trying to come to terms with my current belief system, which is very different from the reality of growing up in Southern Baptist Church and joining a different Southern Baptist Church as an adult.
Now that I am a member of a Unitarian Universalist church, I feel a stronger need to define myself and my beliefs. In addition to secular Christian or a Christian atheist, the minister identified these choices: religious humanist, Trinitarian Universalist, ethical Christians, liturgical Christians--none of these seem to be a perfect fit. The minister said his core belief is something like this: humans are good, humans were created in good, and we love each other as sisters and brothers--I could definitely get behind thtat belief. He also spoke about the mystic oneness of humans and the world, which reminded me of the Transcendentalists’ Oversoul. A concept that I have always had an affinity for.
So I left church feeling really good about being a UU, but I’m still not sure how to label myself. Maybe I don’t need a label. Maybe I just need to try to love others like sisters and brothers. Maybe I will listen to the sermon online--bad sound and all--and take better notes this time, and maybe I should read Jensen's article. After that and some thought, I'm sure I will post again on this topic. I know you will be waiting breathlessly for that post. Yeah, right.
Now, it's time to stop all this blogging and go to bed.