Unitarian Universalists need to get EVANGELICAL!

Christians, Baha’is and members of other religions are more than willing to thrust themselves into the marketplace of ideas, even in places where they may not be appreciated. Maybe its time Unitarian Universalists (UUs) also got a little militant, instead of just sitting in their churches and waiting for refugees broken and disillusioned from authoritarian religion to come to their churches. If lost souls learn about us faster, they can also heal faster.

We can start by buying and wearing things that proclaim our liberal religion to the masses. Look at this fine collection from Cafepress:

http://shop.cafepress.com/unitarian-universalist

And how about this collection from Zazzle?

http://www.zazzle.com/unitarian+universalist+gifts

And these too:

http://www.uu.wittyselfexpression.com/

http://www.uniuniques.com/main.html

Here are a few good examples from Northern Sun:

http://www.northernsun.com/n/s/home/unitarian-uu.html

You can even custom design some items here:

http://www.urbandictionary.com/products.php?txtid=501057

We may occationally find a Gospel tract left in restrooms for complete strangers to pick up (and perhaps discard). How about giving UU pamplets to people that we have earned our trust instead?

http://www.uua.org/publications/pamphlets/

Indeed, just as Baha’is may do “firesides” in members’ homes, so UUs often do “Dinners for Nine” in their homes as well. If non-church members were invited to these, then they would be a great way to share the faith in an relaxed, informal setting.

So how about it? Wouldn’t our world be better if there were as many UUs in it as there are Roman Catholics or Muslims now? I think so!

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5 thoughts on “Unitarian Universalists need to get EVANGELICAL!

  1. Dale, I agree completely that UUs need to act with more conviction in regard to sharing our religious ideas and community with others. Certainly religious fundamentalists are not shy about promoting their cause, and they are doing much damage to the world and to people’s minds and hearts as a result. UUs could really make a difference too — but a positive difference — if only we get some fire in our belly!

  2. Pingback: Why Bahaullah Should Matter to UUs | UU Bahai.com – Unitarian Universalist Bahai Blog

  3. Pingback: Misdefining terms for purposes of propaganda « Dale Husband's Intellectual Rants

  4. Check this out:

    http://www.uuworld.org/ideas/articles/175332.shtml

    By 1966, when the Rev. David Rankin was called to serve his first congregation [the First Parish of Watertown], he found an “old gray ghost” atop the rising knoll on Watertown’s Church Street, with twelve to fourteen people attending the worship services. Almost every aspect of church life had disintegrated.

    In an unprecedented action by Unitarian standards, Rankin went door to door, giving literature to 6,000 families and talking to hundreds about the liberal message of Unitarian Universalism. This evangelical approach worked, at least temporarily. Former Unitarians came back to church, along with ex-Catholics and even a Muslim. Yet it was not enough to save their Gothic edifice. The walls of the meetinghouse had holes, and the floorboards gave way when walked upon. In 1975 it was torn down, and the congregation moved next door to the parish hall, where it eventually grew and today flourishes. At least for now, the congregation is assured of a continuing existence.

    I would hope that it would not take a church on the brink of extinction, or its very structures rotting away, for its minister and members to get off their butts and call out for more people to join them. The Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses are calling out constantly for outsiders to come in and increase their ranks. What’s our excuse for not being as outgoing?

  5. http://www.ninebranches.com/nb/strangers-in-a-strange-land/

    I was looking for references to Unitarian Universalism on the Internet and found the above link. The author of the post was invited by a UU friend to go to church there, but visited on a day he wasn’t there.

    Excerpt that’s relevant

    Strangers in a strange land
    A couple of weeks ago, my wife and I were invited out to a local church by someone we had met at a coffee shop a few days prior. Since it was a faith I didn’t know much about (Unitarian Universalism), I was curious and decided to make a trip over on a subsequent Sunday morning (unfortunately our new friend was out of town). Of course, being the nerd I am, I did a bit of research on UUism and I was surprised how similar on the surface it seemed to the Baha’i Faith. Obviously, I was excited to meet with people who we probably shared more in common with than most.

    Upon entering the church we noticed some striking features: First, the congregation was very diverse. Charlottesville is in the South, so there’s obviously more diversity than most other parts of the US, but here there were whites, blacks, Latinos, Sikhs, Asians, you name it. Women were prominent in clergy roles. The crowd (and there was a crowd) skewed a bit old, but there were plenty of youth as well.

    We also noticed from the walk in that many of the cars had bumper stickers strongly espousing progressive causes. While Baha’is aren’t overtly political, many of us would have found the direction that the congregants leaned reassuring.

    The sermon was modern, relevant (though I don’t think the word God ever came up), and the readings pulled from many faith traditions. Indeed, there was even a nine-pointed Baha’i star representing our Faith up in the rafters among symbols of other world religions.

    With all of these factors in play, I felt like we were walking into a warm, welcoming experience. After the service, we stood up and followed the mass into the nearby fellowship hall, eager to connect with some of the members.

    We stood around in the middle of the hall hoping to catch someone’s gaze or at least making it easy for someone to talk to us. No one stopped to talk. No one even looked. Disheartened, we waited. After about half an hour of this, we sadly crept out the back door to go home.

    What happened?
    Despite seeming very friendly (from a distance), diverse, and even progressive, they did not have an outward facing orientation. They weren’t welcoming. In marketing-speak, we would say that they have a customer service problem.

    It does show a need for an outward facing orientation in each and every UU church and each and every UU. It’s not a systematic study of UUs or UU churches, but rather a case study of one day at one UU church.

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