Wednesday, July 26, 2006

The shocking truth #2

Here's another shocking truth for Unitarians:

People don't have a problem with 'God' - people have a problem with 'church.'

If two thirds or more of the British population consider themselves Christian, but less than 20% go to church, what is that telling us? It is telling us most Britons don't dislike 'God' or 'Jesus' - though they may not have orthodox intepretations of what they are. But I think most people are deeply distrustful of 'church.' I think people are distrustful of institutions that they see as wielding power (bishops in the House of Lords) hierarchical (bishops in general) and interested in lining their own pockets and keeping people in their place.

In short people are interested in a church-less God, and Unitarianism is offering a God-less church.

Our message, then, should not be 'you don't have to believe in God to come here' - but 'we do church differently.' What needs redeeming is not people's understanding of God as much as people's understanding of church.


Blogger Rich said...

Now, you see, I'm on the other end of that spectrum. I became a Unitarian because I am a "you don't have to believe in God" kind of person. But you're right, something about churches does disturb me but it hasn't been fully extinguished with my transition from C of E to Unitarianism.

I think in the end it comes down to money. I know my church needs money to survive, and I know that possession of land and claiming interest on mortgages and so forth is a perfectly honest way of making money, but I would prefer it was carried out more in the open. We have our annual general meetings and annual reports and so on, but this is only like a publicly-traded company. Couldn't we be more Unitarian about it and maybe have some leaflets or even sermons on the subject of "how do Unitarian churches make money, and why do they have to do it this way?"

5:49 pm  
Blogger Joseph Santos-Lyons said...

Stephen - I have to say, you are blogging maestro, addressing really relevant issues and providing folks like me in the USA a really great perspcetive on what is happening with UK Unitarians. I just wanted to say THANKS. Keep it up brother!

4:17 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Unitarianism is in the doldrums and trys to be everything to everyone and gets little accomplished in the process.

5:33 pm  

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