Interesting service this morning. The service taker divides her time between Unitarian and Anglican worship, and contrasted the sometimes more charitable and communal attitude of (Anglican) Christians over Unitarians. It is an argument I have often made myself, that in not having a creed (Unitarians reject creeds) you get other forms of producing in-group and out-group techniques (as she put it) or, as I might put it, creeds by the back door.
I think that the attitude, that I do this job and that's it, or I sit here and won't budge ever, is something you can find anywhere, not just in a very long established Unitarian congregation, but such an attitude can be fed by a bloody-minded individualism.
We had a couple of visitors, one of whom was looking for a social contact we cannot provide simply because we don't have the numbers or his interests, and he noted that Vineyard churches do these things. They do, like having walking groups, but his dilemma was that he doesn't have the beliefs that they have (and for someone we've never seen before, he was well up on Unitarians in the United States, for example). Well, that is the point: that for all their behavioural sins, Unitarians often are where they are because they do not have the beliefs that can lead to credal affirmations, or prefer individualism as such.
But there is then the other side of the argument, and the one heard today is the one I also hold. Unitarians therefore have to be self-critical and not allow individualism to be all triumphant, otherwise (and these are my words) it becomes an excuse for a religion rather than a means to broader religion.
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