UUs and class: thought 1

Better to make this short and get it out and write again if need be. The issue of class and Unitarian Universalism is one that won’t be solved by this or any thread on blogs, but I am responding to some of the blog posts written by Unitarian Universalist minister and blogger Tom Schade.

In the South, there’s a joke that an Episcopalian is a Methodist with an education, and variations on the joke “descend” from there to the Baptists and Pentecostals. In other words, it’s all together possible to “trade up” when choosing one’s church. And, of course, part of the fantasy is that you belong there, that you have always belonged there and there was never a time when you and your family wasn’t so status-full. Which is to say it’s a lie.

The Unitarians, surely, and Universalists, to a more Presbyterian level, had status churches, but today the conventional status is more remembered than actual. The number of bona fide WASPs in our congregations, particularly outside New England, seems vanishingly small but as others have observed, there’s little cachet in the WASP brand anymore.

Instead, the status value Unitarian Universalist congregations have comes their contrarian role in conservative areas, and as a venue of self-reinvention everywhere.

By Scott Wells

Scott Wells, 46, is a Universalist Christian minister doing Universalist theology and church administration hacks in Washington, D.C.