Saturday, 16 April 2011

Answering My Own Questions

For the questions, see the previous blog entry.

  1. The Church has Presbyterian Puritan origins, without setting up Presbyteries as a result of persecution and wish to return to the Established Church. With confidence in the Bible alone, without creeds and Church, the Calvinists (who did reason their Bibles) liberalised to Arminianism, and carried on liberalising, until the liberal biblical ideologues took over, and then biblical criticism and romanticism created a denomination of personal authority, one that had evolved its belief over time.
  2. Meeting in a Bahai group and mixing with Christians I was confirmed at University and moved to a rural parish. The Bahais used the Unitarian building and I went there to ask controversial questions. Seeing a wall notice I looked them up, and gradually transferred my attendance and ministry seeking to the liberal group.
  3. Its theological spread is liberal Christian, religious humanist, neo-Pagan and Eastern, with a range from rational to spiritual-romantic.
  4. I am basically a user of Christian language to arrive at religious humanism. I am not a Christian by any usual measure.
  5. I'd describe the congregation I attend as easy going and non-doctrinal, tending to the religious humanist but easily absorbs the range of preachers.
  6. I would prefer one of the more definitely radical congregations as in London.
  7. It does expand the number of people I meet each week.
  8. The Gospel is that of difference coming together, something society has to learn. No one needs to think alike to love alike, as Transylvanian Reformation founder Francis David pointed out.
  9. Faith means trust and salvation is arrival at a clarity of mind as to one's pathway.
  10. The Church has no barriers regarding sex or sexuality in ministry, and it wishes to carry out same sex unions with religious liberty.
  11. Much of the decline and growth depends on the capacity of other Churches to contain its liberals. If they can, Unitarianism struggles, if they can't, it will benefit. I do think more people will come over as the tendency elsewhere is towards the evangelical.
  12. I try to tolerate others and do good if I can; also if representing Unitarians (e.g. with the sound system installation) then I am a representative of its values.
  13. On a theological point I find it odd that some people may regard Jesus as somehow superior when they don't grant him any divinity: they simply don't have the information and you have to do it as doctrine. The effect then narrows the expression of the Churches. There is a contradiction of power and identity going to the congregation when every single one should represent the span of the movement. The Church should change to fit the people, not the people change to fit the Church.
  14. Christmas I find tedious, and the pointless carols cause me to run out of breath: I'd rather skip it all or do Hannukah or Diwali or simply the Winter Solstice. Easter is just the new life we seek, both naturally and within ourselves.
  15. I've met Bahai's and Western and Tibetan Buddhists. I think the interfatih contact is an important part of Unitarian religious life.
  16. I don't believe in reincarnation or resurrection, I don't like laws based on religions.
  17. On the one hand Unitarianism is too easy - individualism becomes a licence to your own bigotry, but then a faith of questioning is difficult and you have to work at its continuing construction.
  18. My approach to faith completely incorporates science and social science.
  19. Unitarianism is pro-culture, in that it is fully modernist and has struggles to accept postmodernism, but the claim for liberty undermines religious privilege of which there is still too much - seen in the increasing clash between social ethics and conserving Christianity. Unitarianism challenges common attitudes that are nationalist and non-inclusive.
  20. If Unitarianism was just another form of Christianity then I might as well be a dissident in another denomination. It needs to include Christianity in its debate (I do) but must be broader based. I still dislike the General Assembly Object, and those who thought it might help give identity were simply wrong - it is misleading and is anti-inclusive and its redundancy is no reason not to bother with it. That's how factional politics becomes destructive and contradictory.

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