I am beginning to think that the West Coast Unitarians should never have blended with the Universalists. Sure, they might have died out in the 70's under the weight of their own political steam, but they would not have raised young Unitarians into a church system to seems to currently thrive on ridding themselves of that branch.
After reading the current issue of the UU World, for those that aren't Unitarian Universalist this is our denominations publication, I find that the frustration with my refusal to believe in all things spirit are keeping the UU's from growing. Yes, the growth of the church seems to rely on everyone believing in some kind of spirit - at least if you read the words of Maryilyn Sewell or Peacebang's comments captured in the Blog Roundup.
"The shadowside of our humanism, which is grounded in empiricism and the existntial virtues of the human spirit, is a fear of the sacred." Marilyn Sewell, Our Shadow Side, page 24 UU World
"Clergy have an obligation not to indulge those who have no use for tradition or for religious teaching." Peacebang, page 60 UU World
My thoughts reading these words were that you don't want me, need me, or have any desire for me to be part of the UU world. I bring out the side of you that you want to slough off, a time you want to forget, a merger that maybe shouldn't have happened.
Here is the kicker though. I was RAISED Unitarian. I did not adopt it like so many others, bringing their religious baggage with them that I have to tolerate and accept. I do not have any of the false rituals that are now part of our religious landscape of my childhood experience (no candles, no empty prayers, no water rituals), and yet all these years I have let it go. Let those new things become part of the cultural experience of being UU. But now it seems that you have no room in your house for those of us who just tolerate your "spirit".
Sure, I get that our original Unitarian groundswell in Europe and the East Coast was one of religious outpouring, but the West Coast 70's version was not. We were Humanists. I am not afraid of the sacred - I think you make things sacred... from the human experience. They are not of spirit, god, or any other outside force - you, a human, makes them sacred. And if I don't share that experience with you it isn't because I am afraid, it is because I don't share it.
For years I have felt outside of the Unitarian experience and yet it is my home. My base. Strange when that home wants to kick you out.