Dear Mother Universalism

Scott Wells, a foremost historian of Universalism (writing exclusively on-line), offers a pointed correction to the simplistic and sentimental treatment of Universalism proffered in too many UU sermons, books and stories.

I think it is much to Scott’s credit as a tireless blogger of the Universalist tradition that so many younger UUs are re-claiming Universalism in a serious and fierce way as central to their own theology and ministry. I took special delight in the appearance of two T-shirts at General Assembly this year, both  featuring cool, punk(ish) designs proclaiming Universalist slogans, LOVE THE HELL OUT OF THIS WORLD (a reference to John Murray’s famous saying, “Give them not hell, but hope…”) and DEATH AND GLORY (a reference to snide Restorationist dismissals of ultra-Universalism that claimed the soul went straight from death to heaven, with no remediating time in between).


YEA, Rev. Ron Robinson, Executive Director of the Unitarian Universalist Christian Fellowship!


YEA, Paul Sawyer, Universalist Minister in Heartland, Vermont! And his lovely wife whose name I don’t know!

10517607_10204239534373524_5863457808536254464_n YEA, smiling GA conferee whose name I don’t know! Let’s get a closer look at that graphic, which I believe was created or commissioned by the Red Pill Brethren, a group of emergent-style UU clergy.


Another bit of fabulous Universalist swag that appeared at General Assembly this year was a great button created and distributed by the Rev. Scott Wells himself. Here’s the graphic of what Scott informs us was “the middle part of the Universalist Church of America seal from the early 40s to consolidation in 1961:”




I am currently serving a congregation that has very deep Universalist roots as well as Unitarian ones, and I am therefore more grateful than ever for Scott’s research and generosity in posting what he finds on his blog, Boy In The Bands. I am deeply grateful also to the Unitarian Universalists who are lifting up, reviving and living out the message of God’s all-conquering love in the world.

3 Replies to “Dear Mother Universalism”

  1. Thank you so much. One word of warning: the “not hell, but hope” is not genuine Murray, and is well documented, and not even eighteenth century!

    That said: I’ve got an idea for a button for next year…

  2. Hi Peacebangers:

    Rev. Erik Martinez Resly designed all of the logos pictured in this post except for Scott’s “All Conquering Love” button, and ALL are on sale in Tshirts of all sizes at the UU Christian Fellowship. Get ’em while they’re hot.

    Marketingly yours,


    [Thank you so much for letting me know!! -PB]

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