Lapsed Unitarian

Written By: Charles - Aug• 17•10

Lughnasa                     Waxing Artemis Moon

Oh, boy.  Just got myself into another situation.  Promising things I’m not sure I know how to accomplish.  I hope this goes with do one thing you fear every day, month, year–whatever time frame you can stand.  Cannot reveal details right now, but this could be a lot of fun for a lot of people or a complete bust.  Feels like the old days when I used to do this kind of stuff all the time.  Dream up something, contact a few folks, make it happen.

Still fatigued.  Kate says it’s my body still healing itself.  I hope so, because it feels like I’m still sick.

A friend the other day referred to herself as a lapsed Unitarian.  Lapsed Unitarian.  That made me wonder.  What are the spiritual and metaphysical consequences of falling away from the only faith named for two doctrines, Unitarianism and Universalism, in which none of its members believe?

I have come to see UU as a way station of sorts, a caravan serai for the pilgrim lost in the desert or high on a mountain and in need of refreshment, companionship.  Maybe a spiritual decompression chamber where individuals are brought safely back to their spiritual sea level.  It’s clear to me that my decompression is complete, has been complete for several years now.

Now, this is probably idiosyncratic, but I’m pretty sure it’s not unusual.  When we step away from a long time, culturally supported faith tradition like Christianity or Judaism, the lag time for decompression can be lengthy.  Not only do we have to unlearn one faith identity, we have to find or create another.  The UU movement is perfect for that time, for the initial time of confusion and disorientation and for the development, the constructing of a new faith.  Once that work is done however it most often results in a person anchored no longer in institutional faith, but in a place more like the world, the world of the human and the animals and the rock and the lake, a place where the spiritual moment is every moment and where the faith commitment may have an introspective, interpersonal, natural, and/or political expression, but not an institutional one.

So.  Perhaps lapsed Unitarian is the destiny of most of us no longer inside the Christian hermeneutical circle.  It still helps to have a place to rest along the way.

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One Comment

  1. Judson D. Jones says:

    I have been describing myself as a lapsed Unitarian since about 1968, In response to people who kept asking me what my religious denomination was. I thought I coined the phrase, but it is so obvious I cannot have been the only one.

    It also happens to be true. My parents were both raised Lutheran, but by the time they started having kids in the late ‘40s they were pretty sick of it. Still, in those days there was still a lot of social pressure to go someplace with your family on Sunday morning, so they went to the First Unitarian Society. I got pretty sick of that, and persuaded them my time could be better spent with the Sunday funnies.

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