Lectionaries redux


Chutney gives me my first chance to test out the TrackBack, which itself was activated at Chutney’s general request to godbloggers.

I guess the appeal to a Unitarian Universalist lectionary jerks my chain in three distinct ways.

1. To quote a zillion TV law dramas, “it assumes facts not in evidence,” namely, a theological core. The Principles and Purposes have moved from being a census of competing factions within Unitarian Universalism to canonizing a self-selecting, materialistic atheist or wide theist, world religion-ism as Unitarian Universalism. No, you can guess, I don’t like that.

Why? Because this canonization puts an onus on those who have a particular theology, as if one is supposed to have a “theology in general.”

So I have a hard time with anything that gives that interpretation of Unitarian Universalism any more institutional heft.

2. The Revised Common Lectionary and its kin are attempts to unify Christians through a common approach to the word. Intended for a U.S. constituency, it has been wildly and widely adopted world wide. (It should be noted that two Unitarian Universalist ministers sit on the committee, the Consulation on Common Texts that devised the RCL.)

Anything particular and sectarian — the Scylla and Charybdis of Unitarian Universalism, but we’re not alone in its trap — just shows how out of the loop we are.

Why draw together a resource to prove it?

3. Of course, alternate lectionaries, liturgies, anything are marketed as sexy, hot, innovative.

Like parachute pants.

I’ll stick to the Revised Common Lectionary, and the Oremus lectionary off-Sundays.

But, even if such a UU lectionary was to come into being, I don’t think I would write off “Direct experiences of mystery and wonder” or conflate it with world religions.

Mystical experience is often at conflict with the same institutional manifestations of religion that produces the scriptures that those world religions would use. But mystics — I suppose out of compassion, or a need to reflect on the experience — do sometimes reduce their experiences to writing.

And then there’s the nature writing, which often points a sub-mystical experience of God, but is as direct as any experience. Many would be tempted to attribute this to “Spiritual teachings of earth-centered religions” but what if the writer is theologically elsewhere.

Indeed, the works of George deBenneville, who would have turned 300 last July 26, fits nicely here.

3 Replies to “Lectionaries redux”

  1. At first I wanted to ask just what you mean by “world religion-ism” but I heave read Chutney’s response and Rev. Parker’s as well, and feel I have an inkling of what is meant. I was most struck by Rev. Parker’s description of “skimming on the surface of religious experience.” I can see how this can be annoying and leave one unfulfilled. I also believe that some people–if not most–are only ready for the stuff on the surface. It is the job of the minister, I am being taught, to meet people where they are and work/walk with them from there.

    I also hadn’t thought of the notion that “a ‘many-centered’ faith might seem exclusive to those who find sustenance from a single source.” This is a bit perplexing to me as well, considering my chosen career path. I would like to say that each congregation can have its own theological or philosophical center, but my experience is that congregations have various factions represented within them. I suppose there must be congregations out there in our denomination that have a primary center and not much other variety represented.

    If you care to elaborate on your criticism, I’m attentive.

  2. Pingback: MyIrony.com

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