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Showing posts from February, 2006

The work of an evangelical Unitarian

I call myself an evangelical Unitarian, an evangelical liberal. I know that the only way the Unitarian faith in Britain is going to survive is if we get out in the world and build mission-shaped churches. We are currently a declining community, and the only way we are going to turn that around is if we do new things, and get our message out in the world. Here's a case in point. Unitarians are opposed to the blasphemy law in Britain. We passed a resolution at the 2002 General Assembly saying that. Well, that's a start. Then last November Essex Hall held a Celebration of Blasphemy evening of light entertainment. Fine, but these things are just us talking to ourselves. I'm sure we wrote a letter to the Government. Well, big fucking deal. Do we think this makes a difference? Do we think this is good enough? No, this is self-congratulatory posturing. And it doesn't filter down to the congregations. If we believe in something we have to be completely committed to it, and evan

Results of the Executive Committee election

Here are the folks elected to the first ever General Assembly Executive Committee : Jennifer Atkinson Dawn Buckle The Rev Stephen Dick Dorothy Hewerdine Neville Kenyon The Rev Ann Peart Sir Peter Soulsby The Rev Robert Wightman They will take office at the Annual Meetings in April. First, let's say what's good about this. The General Asssembly Council, a body universally thought of as too big and completely ineffectual, and a body that people dreaded serving on, is being abolished. The Unitarian General Assembly structures are changing in the most dramatic way since 1928, and that shows a community that is prepared to make some changes, which is heartening. There are 4 women and 4 men. This is good. There are 3 ministers and 5 laypeople. I think that's about the right proportion. However, the people elected to the EC are definitely the usual suspects. The form is new, but the people are old faces. Several of the people above have served on the Council. I suppose that's

What would Mohammed do?

In the light of the Danish cartoons of Mohammed I came across this article, which I thought was very interesting. My own observations about the cartoons is that those responsible should have chosen not to print them, though it should not be illegal for them to do so. They should have been responsible enough to realise what a stupid idea it was to print those pictures. Freedom of speech does not mean you can shout 'fire!' in a crowded theatre, someone one said (a Unitarian?). And this was effectively what these cartoons were. The ignorance of Islam staggers me. People don't seem to realise that to picture Mohammad at all it frowned upon in Islam, let alone ridiculing him in a very hurtful way. It worries me a great deal the Islamaphobia in America. The Daily Show, which I usually love, is making jokes that show a real ignorance towards Islam. No one would talk like that in the UK, it would be considered racist. A while ago I heard an African American Baptist preacher say tha

The word 'God'

The good thing about our small British Unitarian churches is that it's possible to have some dialogue in worship. I took a service on Sunday and we had some dialogue during the sermon about questions and beliefs we have. The dialogue brought up for me the issue of the word 'God.' It seems to me most Unitarians don't have a problem with the idea of (some sort of) God. However, a lot of people have a problem with the word 'God' - associating it with a war-like vengeful God found in some parts of the Bible. A lot of people seem to prefer something like 'Spirit of Life.' The thing is if you say to any unchurched people out there 'Spirit of Life' they are either not going to understand you, or they are going to say, 'What, you mean God?' To which you'll have to reply, 'Well, yes.' It's the same as saying, 'Direct experience of that transcending mystery and wonder, affirmed in all cultures, which moves us to a renewal of the

Anyone identify with this?

From PostSecret , which is a wonderful place of democratic post-modern angst-art.

Captain Jack, positive bi role model

I was living in the States last year when the new series of Doctor Who came on, so I never saw any of the new episodes. This week a friend lent me the DVD box set of the whole series, so I've been spending the week watching them. They're great. I love the fact that a Doctor Who fan, who clearly knows what makes Doctor Who great, has written the new series. I also love the fact that that person is Russel T. Davis, the writer of Queer As Folk. Fantastic. Anyway, another reason I'm loving the new Doctor Who is the character Captain Jack, played by John Borrowman. (By the way: phwwahr! - and you thought this was one of those intellectual Unitarian blogs, not some big old queen drooling over actors - don't worry I'll get back to that soon). Apparently he's getting his own series, called Torchwood. The character is also bisexual. And the first bisexual character I have ever seen in the media presented in a positive light. He's not 'mixed up' or 'confus