Free and Inquiring Religion?
This afternoon I got delivered a bunched-up package from Essex Hall, the headquarters of British Unitarianism. Along with other stuff from the mailing came an advert for a new Unitarian car sticker.
I'm not going to get one. The main reason for this is that I don't have a car. But in addition to that I really don't like the stap-line. It's the same standard one Essex Hall have been using for a long time (anyone know how long?), 'for free and inquiring religion.'
Is that really the message we want to give to people? What does it even mean? 'Free' to most people means you don't have to pay for it. 'We're a free church,' 'Great! No collection!' The concept of free religion needs explaining, you can't get it across in one line, so let's not try. 'Liberal' would be better, most people would have some idea what that means.
'Inquiring'? When I hear this word I think of an old man with half-moon spectacles reading a book, or gently and politely going to an information point and inquiring where the toilets are.
Even 'religion' isn't great if we really want to be missionary and get into the mindset of the culture, especially for those born after 1970.
I myself always go for 'progressive spirituality.' It may not be perfect, but I do think it's better. Maybe 'inclusive' as well. 'Unitarians: a progressive and inclusive spiritual commumnity.'
Feel free to leave a comment and offer your own strapline. Can we have a debate about this? Two years ago the Outreach and Communications Commission held a competition for people to suggest good phrases to be used on posters etc. Where have they gone now? We need to have a think about the most missionally appropriate language to use to speak about ourselves.