(RNS) Can a Creedless Religion Make It Another 50 Years?

A recent Sunday service at the First Unitarian Church of Baltimore ended with an apology.

Laurel Mendes explained that religious doctrine had been duly scrubbed from the hymns in the congregation’s Sunday program.

But Mendes, a neo-pagan lay member who led the service, feared that a reference to God in “Once to Every Soul and Nation” might still upset the humanists in the pews.

Read it all.


Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Other Faiths, Religion & Culture, Theology

17 comments on “(RNS) Can a Creedless Religion Make It Another 50 Years?

  1. drjoan says:

    This is TOO funny!

  2. Archer_of_the_Forest says:

    I thought for sure this was something from The Onion.

  3. Archer_of_the_Forest says:

    [blockquote]a proud history of welcoming all seekers of truth—as long as it’s spelled with a lowercase “t.”[/blockquote]

    That might just be my quote of the month.

  4. deaconjohn25 says:

    I like the line: “Millions of people are actively seeking a progressive,nondogmatic, spiritual community.”
    The problem is that it is hard to be nondogmatic when you are dogmatic about being nondogmatic. Honest religious seekers see through the hypocrisy.

  5. carl says:

    [blockquote] “I actually don’t believe that religion is about what people believe. Religion is about what we hold sacred, and that’s very different from assenting to a set of propositions,” he said.
    [/blockquote] This is a good example of the intellectual incoherence that runs through the quotes in this article. How do you hold something sacred without first believing it is sacred. What does it mean to hold something sacred in the first place? There are people who hold the American flag sacred, and yet that contention would throw the synapses of a typical UUA member into paroxysms. There are in fact unstated beliefs embedded in this assertion. So in fact it is very much about what people believe. The question (as always) is the authority underneath our beliefs. It is the ever-present contradiction in liberal thought – “Truth is unknowable but my understanding of Truth is better than your understanding of Truth.”


  6. Archer_of_the_Forest says:

    What I have always found irritating about the UUs is that they do have dogma as much as anyone. Try floating some Conservative Republican idea and see the UU Magisterium go ape.

  7. Undergroundpewster says:

    This kinda says it all,

    “The Rev. David Bumbaugh, a professor of ministry at the UUA’s Meadville Lombard Theological School in Chicago, was present at the founding of the association in 1961. He says the UUA has always shied away from God-talk for fear of offending members and shattering congregations.”[/blockquote]

    Lord have mercy…

  8. Jim the Puritan says:

    The UU church here has moved into being a meeting center for polyamorists (another thing the UUs support). I suppose over time that could get their numbers up.

  9. Jim the Puritan says:

    I always love when a UU shows up at your church. They spend the whole time trying to explain “your religion” to you. They have amazing head knowledge about all sorts of denominations and religions, they just have nothing going on in their hearts.

  10. dwstroudmd+ says:

    Why? Why not? To be safe, answer both as non-dogmatically as possible.

  11. Ian+ says:

    Reminds me of Garrison Keillor’s comment on the Unitarian missionaries who founded a town near Lake Wobegon: “They didn’t actually want to convert anybody TO anything in particular, just away from what they happened to believe at the time.”

  12. NoVA Scout says:

    Then there is the story of the time the Klan left a burning question mark on the lawn of a Unitarian church.

  13. stjohnsrector says:

    Okay…I’ll be the first to say it….how is this different than many ECUSA parishes and maybe even dioceses? Pretty vestments in ECUSA? (and I say this as a priest in ECUSA). Perhaps they have the integrity to profess their self-worship rather than those in ECUSA who say the creed with their fingers crossed, or edit the bible with a pen-knife.

  14. Ralph says:

    We DO INDEED have pretty vestments!

    See [url=http://www.anglican-mainstream.net/wp-content/uploads/Katharine Jefferts Schori.jpg]here, for example[/url]. What this shows is that our PB, in the big picture of Christianity, is an outlier. A minority, like the UUs.

    My ECUSA parish uses standard off-the-rack Almy vestments, an otherwise unedited NRSV Bible, and the 1979 BCP. I believe that the clergy do believe what the creeds say.

    I might prefer the 1928 (or 1662) BCP and the ESV (with the KJV nearby, of course). 🙂

    We also have the Holy Eucharist and the other sacraments. They have “Flower Communion.” Nice.

  15. Ian+ says:

    I’m afraid, my dear brother Ralph, that an ‘unedited’ NRSV is actually an edited version of Scripture with an eye toward inclusive language that led to some misleading and erroneous updates. The RSV is still the most reliable.

  16. Larry Morse says:

    Can I assume you know the joke about what you get when you cross a Jehovah’s Witness with UU? Larry

  17. NoVA Scout says:

    And then there’s the story of the Klan indicating its displeasure with the civil rights activities of a Unitarian Church by burning a question mark on the lawn.