Do UUs have anything to say about Love and Universalism?


Unitarian Universalists are collectively really bad at body surfing, at least media wise.  We didn’t start producing “It Gets Better” videos until there were so many out there, our videos were a few drops in the bucket.  Love ’em, important, but potentially lost in the noise from a media standpoint.

Now Universalism and a theology of love have hit the news with Rob Bell’s book, Love Wins: A Book About Heaven, Hell, and the Fate of Every Person Who Ever Lived, and video Love Wins (above).

On her Deep River blog, Anna Snoeyenbos has suggested that the Rev. Peter Morales and Unitarian Universalist Association issue a press release.

I think Anna’s right. Now IS the time for UUs to speak up if we want to be part of this conversation.   Though I wouldn’t wait for the UUA.  Start blogging, Tweeting, talking on Facebook and commenting where you see “Love Wins” content online.

Have something to say?  Say it in March or wait for the next wave…

11 thoughts on “Do UUs have anything to say about Love and Universalism?”

  1. Just curious if anyone’s read Bell’s book. He’s pretty noncommittal in the video about what his ‘love’ entails.

  2. ” He’s pretty noncommittal in the video about what his ‘love’ entails.”

    Sounds like he’d fit right in with many of the “less than committed” U*Us I have the misfortune to know. . .

    Does anybody know just what the “love” in the UUA’s ‘Standing On The Side Of Love’ campaign actually entails?

  3. I think we should use any opportunity to remind the world of where we stand. While we didn’t invent universalism, we were well ahead of the game in this country for centuries. Sadly, I think we disowned our own Universalist heritage in an attempt to become players in the Unitarian/humanist game of the last century, a la the Charles Street Meetinghouse, for example. All we managed to do was join the AUA along the sidelines of American religion in the post-merger UUA. I hope we can take opportunities like this to reassert a place in the larger conversation, first of all, and secondly, to bring greater attention to the way we do try to live out a witness to this in the real world.

  4. Stephen Cook is right that “we didn,t invent universalism,” but we have with universalism the only relationship more honorable than invention, which is, its refuge. Time and again, throughout United States history, Unitarians were the ones who stood with Christians who were trying to remain in their family or chosen faiths, but without affirming those doctrines of hell. It began in the 1830s with amicable agreements which led to the founding of a single congregation in a frontier town, rather than competing and splitting the liberal presence. By the end of the 19th century, the two faiths had many intermingled social and civic activities. As Universalism’s decentralized polity fell behind at the end of the 20th century, when other decentralized religions (including the Unitarians) began centralizing their polity, the AUA provided physical shelter for Universalist staff in a building not being used by the Unitarians. I always get a charge out of the line item in those budgets — 16 Beacon Street was listed as “book storage.” By the 1920s, formal merger efforts were underway, but got sidelined by the Great Depression and World War II.

    This relationship has been problematic for Trinitarian and Christian Universalists. Our historic Statements of Faith, despite their famous Liberty Clauses, were silenced during the 1961 consolidation now being celebrated. Even when the UUA began accepting this as part of our heritage, within Universalism itself –as before consolidation — there remains a gulf between the humanistic and the God-believing. The latter group is then split between the Hosea Ballou-type Unitarians (God’s goodness is why are are safe from hell — versus the traditional Baptist-based Universalists (Jesus died for ALL of us, and that is our salvation).

    So the question before us is whether we still wish to provide a refuge for even Trinitarian Universalists, as they are driven out of their former faiths, and thereby continue to be transformed toward God, or whether we will retain our old barriers to God so strongly that they will wind up forming their own Universalist camp, which might very well outrun us. I note that there is now a “Christian Universalist Association” which includes UUs among its founders and leaders, at http://www.christianuniversalist.org/

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