I've always had some envy of Quakers who have a strong sense of who their founder was - George Fox - and all Quakers know that and still talk about Fox. Unitarians have less of a sense of a founder, and this gives us less of a sense of identity.
Recently though I've started to read more about Michael Servetus
. And I've started to really warm to the idea that he is our founder, and should be viewed as such. True, he didn't start a community, but then, neither did Jesus. True he wasn't perfect, but then, neither was Jesus.
I've recently gained more insights into Servetus that I didn't appreciate before. He was an ethnic minority as a dark-skinned Spanniad in France. He was a healer as he worked as a doctor. He read the Qur'an, and possibly read Arabic, and had a very positive approach to Jews and Muslims. He suffered a death for what he believed in, much like Jesus and Al Hallaj
But mostly I love his mysticism, his sense of God within, that I'm beginning to think is the very essence of Unitarianism. This is the great mystical strand of Unitarianism that we've lost too much. It's just as important as the rational side.
I think we're very impoversished when British Unitarians only trace ourselves back to Priestley
, and Americans only trace themselves back to Channing
. I think we're a global family with many branches that starts with Michael Servetus.
Right now I feel like being Unitarian means following Servetus.