Friday, October 31, 2008

theology to the people!

How nice, to write about answers and not just problems--I was recently excited to learn about one solution for four of our most common UU challenges. Even our seminaries feel we are "theologically illiterate." Our inability to name what it is that we (as individuals) believe, hampers our efforts 1) to keep our youth, 2) to attract new members, and 3) to engage other faith traditions in meaningful dialogue, and therefore work together on justice issues around the world.

The Rev. Myriam Renauld has proposed a theology column for the UUWorld magazine. She would write it in conversation with other prominent UU theologians, and provide simple-yet-deep discussions for all the magazine's readers. I guess it could also address a fifth common concern: quality adult religious education curricula.

Here is a portion of a sample column she sent me: "A teen-ager in an RE class once asked me whether Unitarian Universalism was a religion. I was an intern minister then, and, although I was taken aback by her skepticism, I acknowledged she’d asked a tough but valid question...Although they may not have realized it, the teen-agers in my RE classes, and the grown-ups too, engaged in theological activity whenever they asked questions like: Do I have a soul? Why should I lead an ethical life? What does it mean to love one’s neighbor—in other words, what does this demand of me? Am I more likely to love my neighbor if I act as if God exists or if I put the question of God aside altogether? Why is there so much suffering in the world? Is there an Author of Nature? Why do certain hymns affect me in such a profound way? When I’m outside, why do I sometimes feel an overwhelming sense of connection? Is God beyond thought, or is God in everyone? etc."

Obviously, I cannot speak for Chris Walton, or anybody else on the UUWorld editorial staff. But in my occasionally-humble opinion, our movement needs this column. Our thirst for real theological reflection prompted our UUA to dedicate "Association Sunday" proceeds to theological education. Rev. Renaud's column will be a quick and inexpensive part of a comprehensive solution. Mazeltov and merci!


At 12:30 PM, Blogger Susan's Friend said...

could not agree more.


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