The Calvinists are coming!

Peacebang, whom I admire mucho, continues her discussion on Calvinism on her blog.

I'd like to respond to some of the comments made to her last Calvinism post:

PB said:

“This attitude is our undoing, as it promotes incoherence and narcissism at the deepest level of community and of being.”

So very true.

“this philosophy has eroded our efforts toward theological education from the pulpit and in the religious education”

As you may or may not recall, I flirted with joining a UU congregation almost a year ago; your point is one reason why I didn’t. It was so clear that the minister felt he had to hold back…putting his toe just up to the theistic line, but never crossing it without using “slashes” (God/Goddess/Highest Truth/Buddha/Nature/Ad Nausea). In a later sermon that I read online, that same minister lamented the need for doing the slashes-thing, and confessed that it sometimes causes him consternation (paraphrasing heavily).

“In tacitly agreeing that we have no tradition to teach, we have abandoned our people to the shallows of spiritual faddism and left them alone to craft a personal religion with no acknowledgment that they might, along the way, fall into snares and sins of delusion in what they devise.

Furthermore, we have poisoned our congregations by persuading them that the primary responsibility of the UU religious community is to protect their individual right to concoct any religion that pleases them, and then we wonder why our religion fails to thrive. It's because we don't have one; rather, we have a house full of "only children" who mistakenly believe that their liberal religious inheritance is threatened by the presence of other children.”

Wow; that sums up my frustrations so well.

Fausto said:

“I think trust in the integrity of individual conscience is a much more recent phenomenon.”

I agree. Channing said (emphasis mine) “We believe that the love of God is not only essential to happiness, but to the strength and perfection of all the virtues; that conscience, without the sanction of God's authority and retributive justice, would be a weak director; that benevolence, unless nourished by communion with his goodness, and encouraged by his smile, could not thrive amidst the selfishness and thanklessness of the world; and that self-government, without a sense of the divine inspection, would hardly extend beyond an outward and partial purity.” Of course Channing came before Emerson, but the foundation for our conscience needing to be plugged into God is right there; and my patron saint, Alfred Hall, said “God is realized by the man with character, while he is unknown to one who merely repeats a creed. [or, one supposes, chases after his own shallow version of religion??] How shall we learn more concerning him? ‘Blessed are the pure in heart, “ said Jesus, “for they shall see God.’ Paul said, ‘For who among men knoweth things of a man, save the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so the things of God none knoweth, save the Spirit of God.’ We have, then to seek a spirit like God’s, if we would know him.”

He goes on to say “The ‘consciousness of sin’ if we posses it, should not…produce in us an unhealthy, morbid brooding over wrong, of which we may or may not be guilty, but should help us to contemplate with more earnestness the divine possibilities which are immanent within us and to which the consciousness of sin itself is bearing witness.” (From Hall’s “The Beliefs of a Unitarian).

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