"The religion of the future"
I'm thinking about the silliness of liberalism, liberals can be very silly sometimes. Despite trying to be rational and sensible liberals can convince themselves of their own stories through the momentum of their own myths as much as anyone. But when we examine these things we can find their foundations very shaky.
One of the myths that religious liberals tell themselves is that we are "the religion of the future." We tell ourselves that society is changing dramatically and that we are so much more in tune with society, and the way things are going that we are bound to become the dominant religion very soon. The trouble is, when you examine this you find that people have been saying this for at least 200 years. Thomas Jefferson was sure that all of America would become Unitarian within 50 years. Despite the fact this prediction never came to pass, we keep saying something very similar. Marcus Borg writes about an "emerging vision" of Christianity. And Peter Morales, in his US UUA Presidential election campaign spoke about UUism becoming "the religion for our times."
Yet it doesn't happen. And perhaps its only because of our poor sense of history that we aren't terribly disappointed about this. Perhaps because Unitarianism is dominanted by converts, and it is a new and emerging thing for us, we are convinced that it will be a new and emerging thing for the culture in general.
What to learn from this? Perhaps that "conservative" religion has some things to teach us. Perhaps that we should be paying attention to why so few of our children hang around, which gives us so little continuity as a religious community.
But mainly I think it's a theological point about being at the margins. We should get used to being a minority, we always will be, but this is no bad thing. The margins, in a Jesus-shaped ministry, is where we are called to be.