Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Better to Prepare?

I'm wondering if it isn't better to prepare for a service less not more... Sunday I did prepare hymns so that we had a Unitarian version of the Seafarer's Hymn (for those in peril...) - it appears in no hymnal because the original has a trinitarian structure. This followed the rumoured to be Titanic hymn. Two others were non-themed liberal singalongs. The sea was a subtheme only. I read out two passages from Donald Coggan on preaching, with the analogy of the music maestro and highly skilled costly performance that is to 'get out of the way' and let the composer come through. Preaching isn't to be like the River Meander he said, but to do something. So I preached. Other Churches preach the gospel, I said, so the idea is the best preacher lets the Holy Spirit come through. And just in case they don't preach the gospel, the sermon in the Eucharist service is followed by reciting the creed. Obviously Unitarians are limited to opinions: we are in that sense religious humanists. But the equivalence is to say something that causes the best of reflections in people listening in developing their own thoughts, making their own growth. And I said this without any notes. Due to operating the music equipment, I was sat, and said this into the microphone on a table from where I'd conducted the whole service.

Next week is my service and I've written about uniformity verses unity, and using the Baha'i Faith as an example of uniformity (and therefore every leader faced a split, and covenant breakers all along the way). Those who syncretise into a 'higher' religion end up producing just one more religion. The Baha'is do not have male-female equality (also intolerant of homosexual partnering), they do not accept science so that there is no religion-science dispute (e.g. they accept "something like" evolution because Abdul Baha didn't accept Darwin), and as for independent search for religion - once you sign up you accept the infallibility of the texts of Baha'u'llah, Abdul Baha and the writings of Shoghi Effendi and the democratic centralist commands of the male-only Universal House of Justice. You only get unity if you can mature enough to have diversity, and mature religions gain a spectrum that in part allows for and accepts change (whereas the Bahais are a late nineteenth and early twentieth century snapshot of limited modernity coupled with some premodern religious inheritance). Perhaps Non-Haifan Bahais (covenant breakers and those who grew weary of the administrative and financial burden) might show a way forward regarding diversity.

But these are many points, and a script to make them, whereas my homily unscripted was straight to the point and without detail.

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