Converted by myself
"It is very curious to observe the unpracticality of all sermons... by [Unitarians]... when they undertake any practical subject... somehow they don't get at it. You feel that you have heard or read a very clever and entertaining paper, embodying a good deal of clear and deep thought, and you ask 'What shall I do?', and pause for a reply, and pause in vain."
George Templeton Strong, 1858
As true now as it was then, I fear.
I'm in Stoke-on-Trent tonight, staying with my parents. They're moving house in a few weeks so I'm here to pack up some of my stuff so they have less to do. I've been going through some old stuff and have found a book of religious writing of mine. There are no dates, but I estimate the contents were written from when I was about 17 to when I was 20 or 21. That covers the period that I became a Unitarian. I found the above quote in the writings, but have no evidence or recollection of where I got it from.
Tonight I have found myself converted by myself. I've been reading the firery and passionate stuff I wrote when I was searching and when I was just coming to Unitarianism. From the beginning I had many complaints about the Unitarian faith not reaching its potential. I was never starry-eyed about a perfect Unitarian community. Yet I was passionate that there was a Unitarian gospel to proclaim, and that it was worth doing. Actually I'm suprised at how much of what I have written and said recently I was already saying a few years ago. I'm convinced that my most creative and productive time religiously was as a teenager, and that the rest of my life will be simply expanding upon the doctrines that I worked out then.
I don't want to lose touch with the 19-year-old me. I need him. It is a big fear of mine that as I become a minister I will get so bogged down in the day to day stuff that I will forget this purpose and mission I felt (and feel right now) as an idealistic teenager and twentysomething. I need to keep this energy up somehow. I need to always remember the reason I came to this faith in the first place. I need to love this faith, trust in the divine, be true to my calling and keep reading the stuff I wrote when I was younger.
Conversion is essential. One of the people who can convert me is my teenager self.