I love reading Doug Muder, if I knew how to make one of those facebook fan pages, I would make one for him. Funny, whip smart and his writing always just makes me stop dead in my tracks and THINK about things.
His latest blog post and article both deal with UU Lay ministry and "going deeper" as Unitarian Universalists.
Good stuff, it's important that we support our leaders and there seems to have been a lot of focus on ordained clergy in recent years. Or maybe that's just the non-ordained person persepctive. And to lead well I think you have to have a deep faith that guides your life. That depth doesn't just come to you during committee meetings and three hour classes.
Here's my issue. What seems to be the standard path to Unitarian Universalism in the discussion both with Mr. Muder and other bloggers is the understanding that all people come to this faith from someplace else, from another faith or from an unchurched life.
I found Unitarian Universalism when my parents took me to church on Sundays, right there in our rickety old dusty basement RE classroom.
Yes, it was a radically independent Fellowship in every sense of the world fellowship. No minister, political speakers, and radical hospitatlity that wrapped it's arms around all who walked through the door.
I grew up Unitarian Universalist. So did Peacebang. So did many of the younger adults in leadership at the UUA and across the continent.
What do we need to help us go "deeper" in our Unitarian Unversalsit faith?
Well, it's true, many of us grew up in small fellowships in the middle of the fellowship movement. We didn't learn anything about Unitarian or Universalist history. Our education of holy texts was more like a high school class than a theological reflection of sacred writings. Bible references in popular culture fell short on us, because we had no idea what happened in the bible. I remember spending a year learning about Islam just at the time when the first principles must have been in discussion, but we heard nothing about what our faith was doing.
So we do have a need to go deeper, we have great value in lay ministry because we understand our UU identity in a deep, familiial way. Many of the new families who visit my church have one parent who grew up UU. We can laugh about the filmstrips we saw in RE when we were kids, we chat about our lack of bible knowledge. But we understand being UU down to our toes the minute we walk in. I've changed my opening questions to families. I no longer ask "are you searching for a church home?" instead I ask "are you UUs looking for a home or are you seekers looking for a church home?". So often now, I hear "well, I grew-up UU and now I've got a child and I want to raise them as a Unitarian Universalist.
How can we be best served? We lifers? What will help us go deeper? That, I am not at all sure about.