Wednesday, August 5, 2009

On Tradition

Postliberal theologian George Lindbeck warns of emptying out the specificity of a religious tradition and substituting a “vapid lowest common denominator” in its place. Believe it or not, our faith tradition did not begin in 1961. Too often, the tangled webs of liberal religion’s genealogy get brushed aside. What would it mean for our future, if we were to reclaim our past – not out of nostalgia, but out of the firm conviction that Unitarianism and Universalism represent the ground of our being, and the foundation for our flourishing? I suspect that if we were to take our history seriously, we would learn of internal vibrancy, dynamism and diversity. Contrary to the Christian straw men we erect, our historical roots branch out in a multitude of directions: Deism, Transcendentalism, Pragmatism, Liberal Christianity and Humanism, to name but a few. We have never been a monolithic faith tradition. We do ourselves a disservice when we remember ourselves – or, with time, forget ourselves – as such.

Print this post

No comments: