I’ve been screaming and yelling and doing everything but laying down on chancels throwing temper tantrums for years against liberal religious “terminal uniqueness:” that bizarre insistence lefty Christians and Unitarian Universalists have that we’re the really unique game in town. We’re the thinkers. We’re the skeptics. We’re the ones who stand on the side of love. We’re the ones who don’t want to be told what to believe.
Yes. Just like every other mainline Protestant I’ve ever met, and I meet thousands.
I sometimes think that I will be in my bed at the Home For Extremely Aged Clergy Who Are Still Able To Sit Up And Take Nourishment and someone will start waxing nostalgic about how the Unitarians or the UCC held the torch for rational religion aloft in the 21st century, how we were such a great experiment in eclectic spirituality, and so all alone in our progressive presence… and I will sit up, whip the oxygen tube out of my nose, and go smother them with a pillow. A long trial will ensue. Was I in the throes of dementia or was it actual homicide? My defense will argue that it was justifiable homicide. I will get in some of the papers and make my case, and then I will die. My tombstone will simply say, “Victoria Weinstein: ecumaniac.”
Oh look at my photo! Here’s a CATHOLIC CHURCH in London that welcomes questions! And I’ve even personally met many Catholics who are not dogmatic! Open minds here? Ya don’t say! And you know what? I believe them!
Below that, another CATHOLIC community center that offers tai chi and yoga as part of their spiritual programming! Wait! When did Catholics start doing this sort of thing?
I have spent the past five years in constant conversation with clergy of all denominations from all over the Western world and can I tell you something? The progressive spirit is EV-REE-WHERE. Just the other night I was hanging out with a Salvation Army chaplain, a few Anglican priests and a Methodist minister. This sounds like the beginning of a joke but it’s not. It’s just women sitting around talking about ministry, all smart and educated, all irreverent and clever, all thoroughly modern and open to new truths, all ministering to incredibly similar communities of human beings.
We think it’s our differences that keep us apart or that make us more appealing to newcomers?
Naw. I believe that it’s our insistence that we’re unique that keeps us all looking very silly and out of touch to seekers who have done some comparison shopping and can tell us for a fact that our differences are almost entirely cosmetic. Most Anglicans I know are just like every UU I know, except they love high liturgy. Methodists and Congregationalists get ornery over the same petty church politics. There are more goddess-worshiping tree huggers in the Catholic church than most pagans could possibly imagine.
The Unitarian Universalist who cannot think metaphorically and who refuses to respect how deeply metaphor ministers to many people’s soul in his congregation is just as doctrinaire and fundamentalist as the Bible-thumper who insists that every word of the Bible is God’s truth.
Same. I’m telling you. I think the future of the Church depends on our ability to move beyond terminal uniqueness.