A book, perhaps?

So, hot on the heels of reclaiming the univeralistchurch.net site, I backed up this blog in such a way that it was easier to sort the 3,800+ blog posts in order by title, and see if themes emerge.

Interestingly, after nearly twelve years of writing. I’ve said relatively little on what Universalist Christianity means, or how it may be embedded in a larger theological system like Free Christianity. I do need to catch up on the current literature, but I’m a miserably slow reader, and (to be plain) the current offerings usually fall into one of the following three forms:

  1. “Everybody going to heaven would be a great idea, and I just though of it.” Thin treatments by thick writers.
  2. A variation, “Universalism really isn’t a dastardly heresy” but the theological starting point is usually Evangelicalism of a Reformed variety. Sometimes it sounds good, but like French pop music, it takes a lot to understand it and that’s not a culture I want to go back and learn. Evangelicalism, I mean.
  3. The “biggest word in the dictionary” crowd, who relish the bigness of Universalism, but recast as a warm, sensitive variety of Unitarianism, and rarely if ever deal with it in on its own terms.

So, I’m thinking about writing a book that deals with Universalist Christianity within its own mature self-conception, with a mind of how that might apply today. Not as a particular doctrine or controversy (which frontier Universalists before and after the Civil War did cultivate) but as a church and an internally-logical system.

But first that reading and planning a proper work flow. The want of a good workflow and access to documents scuttled my thesis twenty years ago. But this wouldn’t be history or liturgy — and so it will take some time to think of what it is.

5 Replies to “A book, perhaps?”

  1. I like the sound of the “today” orientation, as opposed to a historical treatise. What I’ve seen, without thinking too deeply about it, is that a fair number of contemporary folks find the rediscovery of Universalism energizing (whether it’s Door #1, Door #2, or Door #3), but don’t necessarily get around to its implications for practical living. Have fun.

  2. Many (all?) of the Christian universalist books I’ve read, old and new, are written to be read from within Christianity. Universalism is presented not so much as a thing in itself but almost as a solution to an equation that doesn’t balance. X = Everyone! Tada!

    I have wondered what a Universalist Christian book would look like which didn’t spend its time explaining itself to other Christians. Where time was spent on what Universalist piety might mean, for example, rather than on the proper meaning of the parable of Lazarus and Dives.

    All of which is a way of saying that I like your idea very much.

  3. I add my voice to those who encourage you on this project. The notion is hardly original with me, but I am constantly impressed with how much of contemporary mainline Christian thinking is laid out in nineteenth century Universalist theology (Thayer, etc.).

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