Midwest Radicals

Samhain                                          Waxing Moon of the Winter Solstice

Worked on learning the ablative absolute and the passive periphrastic.  This last one is also the name of a colon problem.  Not really.  But this is strange about it, periphrastic is a latin derivative from the Greek.  The actual latin equivalent is circumlocutio, to talk around something.  Do you see the irony here?

This goes to the work of translation and the ways in which literal renderings don’t always, in fact, often don’t, serve idiomatic English.

Also spent time today with Leslie Mills, the UTS intern for whom I have been supervisory clergy over the last semester.  She’s a young woman, growing into her sense of herself and her understanding of a very odd beast, the UU ministry.  UU gatherings mimic protestant forms, e.g. congregations, church buildings, clergy, Sunday worship, but have none of the underlying biblical or church historical rationale, at least in their Midwestern humanist incarnations.

It is a peculiar fact of Unitarian-Universalism that the true radicals in the movement are and have been in the Midwest for some time, since the early 1800’s as the east coast heresies of unitarianism and universalism followed the frontier.  In the time of Jenkin Lloyd Jones and his creation, the first World Parliament and Congress of Religions, the liberal faith tradition in the Midwest gained breadth.

In the post WWI years Minnesota and Iowa, respectively, Des Moines and Minneapolis in particular, became the center point for a non-theistic approach to the human condition, an approach focused on the human and the human experience, as it played out in this vale of tears not in the triumphant heaven of certain Christian beliefs. In this atheological turn the Midwest Unitarians gained depth.

(happy Minnesotans dancing around a local outdoorsman)

Now, in the first decade of the third millennium, the third thousand year period after the dramatic events played out in Palestine, the Midwest has come the front again, this time building on the humanist legacy, but moving the human from the center as the humanists moved God from the center.  In its place now the diverse world of pagan thought has put the natural world and our home planet within that world.  It has been, you might say, a Copernican revolution in metaphysics, moving first away from the heavens to the consciousness and lives of humans, then moving those same humans to a place in that world, rather than pride of place.

This dramatic, unusual chain of thought and faith experience makes the gathering places of those humanists now something other than churches, something different from the great cloud of witnesses, or the gathering of saints.  Just what they are is not clear, nor will it be for a while, I imagine, maybe decades, maybe centuries.  They may be unnecessary now, vestigial organs of the Christian traditions.  Or, maybe not.  Time.  Only in time will we know.

This entry was posted in Art and Culture, Commentary on Religion, Faith and Spirituality, Great Wheel, Great Work, Humanities, Myth and Story and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.