In case regular readers missed it in the comments, Roger Kuhrt asks:
Scott: Just curious–I have given some thought to the creation of a new plant Universalist Congregation (more after the model of The Charles Street Universalist Meeting House than other U churches). My question is this: who would one affiliate with nationally? Given my overt criticism of the UUA I doubt I would want to head off in that direction. Thought seriously about using the Center for Progessive Christianity as a National “place.” What do you think?
Funny, given my overt denunciation of the theologically (and financially) bankrupt Charles Street Meeting House, you might be asking the wrong person. But your question begs a few more, and a couple of comments besides:
- First, The Center for Progressive Christianity isn’t a denominational body. It claims no ecclesiastical or disciplinary power over either its church members or ministers attached them. It doesn’t support or recognize missions, but is a special-interest service organization. But even if it was a denomination, Charles Street Meeting House wasn’t Christian. Why would an heir join a Christian body? Why would a TCPC-like denomination accept into membership?
- Second, of all concerns to bring into a church planting plan, why start with national affiliation?
- Third, the Charles Street Meeting House anticipated much of what is the unquestioned mainline of Unitarian Universalism: a psychologically-steered materialism, prone to harvesting attractive elements in other religions, and operating with a middle-class consumerist ethic. (To its credit, mainline Unitarian Universalism has resisted Ken Patten’s anthropocentric tendencies.) My point is: I doubt the UUA powers-that-be would really care about your criticism. I’m easily as much as a critic, with a plan that calls for an atypical church, and nobody’s thrown a wall up at me. Then again, I’m not asking for money, and they’re not offering. Now if non-affiliation is your deal, that’s more than I can comment on.