The Churchless God

Stephen Lingwood writes briefly about the paradox in Britain between high level of identification as Christians and low church attendance, and thinks about the alternatives the “alternative churches” (like Unitarianism) are offering.

In short people are interested in a church-less God, and Unitarianism is offering a God-less church.

He make a good point, and one Americans should note as our religious demographics are increasingly European-looking.

Canadian United Church ministers union organizing continues

I coulda swore I blogged about this a couple of years ago, when the idea of United Church of Canada ministers organizing under the Canadian Auto Workers made the newspapers. But I can’t find the post so I guess I didn’t. The ministers then raised a cry about how the felt misused and the church — a long time supporter of trade-unionism mind you — snorted back. I was unimpressed by the idea — can’t find the citation — that a union was unnecessary because the church was a union. I do confess I wonder if the sometimes-necessary adversarial relations between management and labor is helpful in a church. After all, aren’t the clergy supposed to take the hit? (He says wryly.) And from the horror stories I have heard from United Methodist clergy friends, there are worse fates than a threatened work-stoppage . . . .

Why? In European countries, where some rabbis and Christian ministers are unionized, the reason expressed seems to do more about mistreatment and safety than hours and wages. This, too, is expressed in the UCCan appeals and these are ongoing.

I don’t really have more to say on the matter, so here’s a few links.

Bus prophet sets tone

In Washington, D.C., when you ride a bus, you’re likely to see a letter-sized poster with a biblical passage taped up. They’re always the same (italic bold Times New Roman, landscape) and the passage comes without commentary, making me think this is the work of one person or group. This is a part of the transit religious ecology, along with the left copies of Watchtower and the “I created man & jinn only that they might worship me” flyers.

Normally pious, even quietistic, this morning’s offering makes me think poster-person also has a political and prophetic consciousness.

Woe unto them that decree unrighteous decrees, and that write grievousness which they have prescribed; To turn aside the needy from judgment, and to take away the right from the poor of my people, that widows may be their prey, and that they may rob the fatherless!

That’s Isaiah 10:1-2. Now if we could hear this from the White House’s Christianist apologists.

What happened to the Universalists? Demas asks

Demas, of live from thessalonica, asks the doleful “What happened?” question with respect to the Universalists. He intimates a too-close relationship to the Unitarians is the problem but the Universalists had enough institutional problems (ministerial shortages were chronic, for instance) and an inflated sense of self (propagated today in outrageous estimates of Universalist strength) long before the engagement with the Unitarians.

A lot of small denominations “failed” because their ethnic base assimilated. See the various Lutheran bodies in the United States. But really they merged and cross-pollinated. Would the Suomi Synod have survived at all — as the kids stopped speaking Finnish — had it not folded into larger Lutheran bodies?

For a long time, some people were content to say the Universalists “won” because the doctrine of universal salvation spread. In fact, there were believers in the doctrine long before the first Universalist church or convention formed and there will be long after the last vestiges of Universalist Christianity die out of, or leave, the UUA.

That has to be accepted, but not so grimly, considering the faith that trusts God to be All in All, and in time, to have communion with all souls.

IRC to meet, tips

A nice feature of the Progressive Faith Blog Con was the ability to follow what went along on IRC: Internet Relay Chat. (I wish someone had said the IRC logs were being projected into the meeting hall, or I might have been a tad less informal.)

I’ve written before on the opportunities available for dispersed groups to use IRC to conduct business; indeed, the Wikipedia board does. (A related how-to.)

Techsoup has a new — well, a retread — article on IRC worth considering.