Thursday, September 08, 2005

Elevator speech

As Unitarians, we don't have many religious obligations - but one of them is to work on an elevator speech. Yes it sounds quite American, but "lift speech" doesn't quite sound right. It is an American phrase, presumably from the business world, and I have been made to think about it by reading a sermon by William Sinkford and listening to a sermon by Gini Courter at ConCentric. These are the two most senior people in the American Unitarian Universalist Church right now.

An elevator speech is basically a 30 second speech. You get in a lift with someone, the door closes, and they ask you about your Chalice badge/T-shirt/tattoo. You say, 'It's the symbol of my faith, I am a Unitarian.'
'Oh, what's that?' they say.
You have 30 seconds until they get out of the lift to explain your strange faith. What do you say?

I nearly had this opportunity recently. It was on my flight from Chicago to London. The person sitting next to me asked what I had been doing in the States. I told her I had been going to a Unitarian young adult conference in Iowa. Unfortunately she didn't say, 'Unitarian - what's that?' So I didn't go any further. I didn't want to be pushy, and let's face it the last thing anyone wants is some nutter trying to convert them sitting next to them on an eight hour flight. Anyway she told me she was going on a 'mission' to Africa so I kind of assumed she was well settled in her faith. But then again, you never know.

Anyway, I've been working on my elevator speech. This is what I have so far.

Most Christians believe that Jesus was divine, but Unitarians believe there's divinity in all people, and in some sense all things too. We believe that all people have sacred worth and can reveal religious truth. All people, regardless of gender, race, class, sexual orientation or religion have inherent worth and something to teach us about God. We believe we should join together in radical communities that work for justice and freedom for all people and the Earth and walk together in our spiritual searches by joining our souls together in worship and our minds together in dialogue.

I encourage you to work on your own elevator speech.


Anonymous Innocent Abroad said...

"A Unitarian is not a Christian in the same way that a Canadian is not an American."


"You're on the Internet, right? You can find out all about it there."

8:12 pm  
Anonymous Bursting Bubbles said...

Please be clear, when making any statements like this, you are expressing your own opinion. This is only a statement of what you believe.

However, it is not what "Unitarians" believe. I assume by using the word "Unitarians" and "we" you are stating what you would like and perhaps assume all "Unitarians" to believe.

I know a fair few who would find the use of what I perceive as overtly theistic and religious language very difficult to go along with.

e.g. divinity, religious truth and God.

One of the essences of being Unitarian is having an individual approach with no imposed strait jackets.

12:17 am  
Anonymous Donald said...

I would disagree with Bursting Bubbles. While that may be true in the United States, Unitarianism in the UK is still predominantly Christian, and the writers elevator speech would be apt. (And someone needs to correct me if I'm horrendously wrong)

4:03 pm  
Blogger LaReinaCobre said...

bursting bubbles:
mind sharing your elevator speech?

I think Stephen's was very good. And I am a humanist, agnostic. here is more to what he is sa ing than the words.

I personally have a couple of "elevator speeches," for different situations, depending on what I am feeling.

5:31 pm  

Post a Comment

<< Home