Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Confessions of an Ex-Unitarian Universalist

I have hesitated to post this for quite a while because I do not wish to be thought of as an angry wingnut. God knows there are enough angry wingnuts protesting a variety of causes out of their own sense of bitterness and betrayal.

Indeed, for a time I felt both--but both were inspired by a broken heart. Now as I have progressed through the stages of grief I find myself no long inclined towards Unitarian Universalism.

Two years ago, after the conclusion of a rather tumultuous C*UUYAN con, I was told rather unsubtly that I was wasting my time. These people are the consummate post-modernists and they'll never get it. Out of a combination of stubborness, a trait inherited from my father, as well as idealism, a trait inherited from youth, I persisted.

I feel that this post-modern construct--this philosophy of the disenfranchised that we term Unitarian Universalism is a lost cause. We are, at best, a loose confederation of misfits who have rejected traditional religion. I hasten to even call UUism a faith, a move calculated to both prevent an argument and set forth a point. It has some well-meaning postulates, to be sure, but in spite of the hard work of the well-intentioned, UUism is akin more to a social organization rather than a faith tradition. Even we grinningly blasphemous heathens know where the road to hell is paved.

For years, I took great offense to anyone who dared mention any an all criticism of my chosen crusade, but I have come to the sad conclusion that this is a lost cause. There is too much work to be done and accomplishing it satisfactorily is, I fear, a task akin to untying the Gordian knot.

We rarely agree on much of anything and what we agree on is often not what we hold dear but rather that which we deplore. When Jesus of Nazareth said "love your enemy" he did not mean "love the fact that you have enemies". Too often we are guilty of feeling a compulsion to rail against that which we fear and that which we are not. This has a peculiar way of unifying ourselves together, quite insufficiently. It is my humble opinion that we cannot exist simply as the antithesis of something. We are not anti-matter or negative integers. We know full well what we are not, but when all is said and done, what are we, really?

I see many people who identify themselves as Unitarians first and any other affiliation later. I see many people who limit themselves to friendships and relationships with only other Unitarians. I've seen the suffix UU deliberately adhered to screen names, live journal handles, and above all, senses of identity. It is if we are saying that only other Unitarians are fit for our interest and though we share much in common, this sort of identity is akin to a cult and not to a faith tradition.

After all, in the Christian community, I do not see people who limit themselves to interactions with only other Methodists, Baptists, Presbyterians, Episcopalians, Lutherans, and the like. I do not see evidence of this in Buddhism.

However, I do see evidence of this in Islam, Catholicism, Judiasm, Mormonism, Church of God, Penecostal, and other forms of Fundamentalist Christianity.

Doing so is, in my mind, a mistake. There is nothing more Unitarian that the idea of comparative religion. There is nothing more Unitarian than opening ourselves up to the idea that we are all the body of, if not Christ, some interdependent web of which we are all members. Why subdivide ourselves if subdivision is counterproductive?

Furthermore, we leave ourselves easy targets for the butt-end of Garrison Keiler's numerous jokes because we seek a sort of Utopia on earth. Anyone who has lived for some degree of time on earth knows that the constant of humanity is its messiness. It is imperfect; it will be imperfect; it shall be imperfect. Expecting less is expecting the impossible. As Keiler himself put it, Unitarians don't want Rapture, they want closure.

So I ask again, what are we, really? To the best of my knowledge we are comprised of odd, eccentric individuals who have never felt a sense of belonging anywhere. To the best of my knowledge we are a tribe of loners and assorted malcontents. The rates of social dysfunction, mental illness, and personality disorders amongst UUs is exceeding high and this is no great surprise to me.

My other deep criticism is of the way we treat newcomers to our gathering. Rather than surrounding each other with love and attempting to be on our own best behavior (no matter how hypocritical this is in reality), we instead insist all newcomers must prove themselves worthy of our attention. This country club mentality is prevalent in life. I, for one, am looking for a break from it in religious fellowship. Common courtesy, a welcoming attitude towards visitors, and the occasional get-well card in the mail are friendly gestures that are sadly lacking in our little tribe of hyper-individualists. And in this very hyper-individualism we lose sight of the fact that faith groups exist as loving communities rather than as competitive fraternities. If the world is competitive, rough around the edges, and often mean-spirited, then these are the last things I want on Sunday morning.

Surely I am not telling you all anything you are not inundated with from the pulpits of your own home congregation. We have identified the problem well. The question remains: why haven't things changed? Have we opened ourselves up to the possibility that they merely cannot?

I speak only on behalf of myself and speak not out of malice. There are, and let me underscore this--many courageous, idealistic, brilliant souls out there who I know will continue to fight the good fight. I am merely the latest to realize that the quantum leap UUism needs cannot accomplished because of its formulation. It is fundamentally flawed and cannot be redeemed by a combination of masterful rhetoric, constant reminders, good intentions, and eloquent prose. If it is to survive as more than a small niche group of often radical leftists, it must take on precepts other than the highly nebulous, highly abstract principles that serve as guilt window dressing full, as Shakespeare noted, of sound and fury, signifying nothing.

I feel as though I have hit my head against a brick wall for nine years and accomplished absolutely nothing in the process. To show for my efforts, I have only a broken heart and two nervous breakdowns.

I believed once--I honestly did. But those days are through and I have found solace in Christianity. When we detached ourselves from that great religion we did a grave disservice to all of us who bear the chalice. When we detached ourselves from concrete realities (yes, even dogmas) only to leave behind the flimsiest of abstract principles we began to wither away to nothingness.

Read this as only my heartfelt opinion. In true Unitarian fashion I seek only to state how I feel, not convert or change minds.

I recognize I am not the first person to come to this conclusion, nor will I be the last. For those of you who will, in your own way, carry on the crusade, I wish you luck though I feel that at some point in the future you too may reach the same impasse that I have.

In love and peace,

Comrade Kevin.

34 comments:

Pars said...

And peace unto you, Comrade Kevin! Sounds like you are on an evolving spiritual journey, which often involves rejecting the old in order to embrace the new. As a lifelong UU, I celebrate your intentional grappling with your life and where you find meaning in the communities and relationships around you. So good travels to you, comrade, and stop in again at your local UU congregation any time! I can assure you that they are not all as dire as you, perhaps, have experienced!

Robin Edgar said...

Well said Kevin.

Presumably you meant to say - "I *hesitate* to even call UUism a faith" rather than "I hasten to even call UUism a faith."

I am quite chuffed at having the distinction of being an "excommunicated" Unitarian (I never really consider myself to be a U*U as it were. . .) and it is very unlikely that I will ever return to the U*U fold if I my make yet another b-a-a-a-a-d pun. ;-)

Chalicechick said...

Hey Kevin,

I'm sorry to hear you weren't happy at your church and as a UU. I've gotten so much kindness and support from my fellow Unitarian Universalists that I really don't recognize my faith in your post, but I believe you that you had these experiences and I'm sad for you and sad for UUism, that you had to.

I am as modernist as it gets and I make UUism work for me, but I surely recognize it isn't for everyone.

Smile. I can't deny that Chalicechick is my handle, so I assume I've contributed to your belief that UUs who proclaim it proudly are culty. I've never been afraid to criticise my church, but being a UU is an important part of who I am. Here's hoping you will find a church that you feel similarly about.

Anyway, I'm not sure where you get that UUs can't have friends who aren't UUs. The Baptist minister I used to hang out with when I lived down south would find that hilarious, I can assure you, but I do hope that you will join the ranks of my friend who don't happen to be UU.

God bless, Dude, and good luck finding a place where you will be happier.

CC

Eric Alan Isaacson said...

I have to say, Kevin, that I rather enjoy hearing Garrison Keillor when he pokes a little friendly fun at Unitarian Universalists.

But my own experience with Unitarian Universalist congregations has, it seems, been very different from yours.

The Unitarian Universalists I know are anything but an insular and isolated minority. To the contrary, they make a point of reaching out to, and involving themselves with, others in the community.

San Diego's Unitarian Universalists are deeply involved in many other organizations and movements here, and our ministers have been leaders in interfaith organizations seeking peace and social justice.

I'm surprised -- and sorry -- to hear that things aren't like that everywhere.

May peace be with you in all that you do.

Eric Alan Isaacson

UU-Mom said...

Kevin,

I'm sorry to hear about your negative experiences. I too have had similar negative experiences with individual UUs who seem to act like this is a social club, but my attitude is that those individuals can't take UUism and all it stands for away from me. They do not represent UUism. I need to help make it what I think it should be.

Putting UU in my username is not to limit my conversations to UUs, but to show my pride in what UUism stands for. I'm on the board of my county civic association, I have a county news blog and a county race relations blog & community service web sites that do not focus on UUism - they focus on what our principles stand for (making the world a better place to live, justice, equity , & compassion, & the democratic process). I've done interfaith work and I've received awards for it (including one from the United Nations Assoc.). So if you assumed this about me, your impression was mistaken.

UUs are human - they makes mistakes. There's no one who is living perfectly by our principles. Democratic process and making the world a better place to live is hard work and messy. I'm not a strong leader, I'm an introvert, so I especially find it hard, but it is the right thing to do, as far as I'm concerned.

If you find that this is final word on the issue, I hope you find it easier to be true to who you are and what you expect out of life as a non-UU Christian. Some of my best friends are Christians. Good luck!

Cal said...

Good luck, Comrade, wherever you travel. I've seen what you describe in some UU congregations in our area, as well as in some Methodist ones. And it's been my pleasure to be involved with some very welcoming, active, and genuinely unified (well, as much as UU's can be, I suspect) congregations as well.

Looking at questions of faith from a different direction, I admit I'm far more comfortable with UUs than most other groups I can find that claim ethics and morals as their proper territory. But then again, there are few atheist churches in town!

PeaceBang said...

Dear Comrade Kevin,
Thank you for your beautiful and courageous testimony. I'm sorry you've been hurt. I do hope you will come to a different conclusion about the value of the past nine years, and I wish you grace and peace in your heart and in your life.

Kiss of peace!

Jaume said...

I wonder if your assessment of today's Unitarian Universalism is a reliable sample or not. I only would like to add that you have always the choice to learn about other Unitarians from around the world and their ways by checking what the International Council (not a "UU agency", "independent affiliate" or anything like that) is doing. Next meeting will be in Germany, November 2007. Unitarians from more than 20 countries, including especial guests from African countries such as Uganda, Kenya, and Burundi, are expected to attend. It will give you a whole new look about what Unitarianism is about!

Ellis said...

Kevin,

I'm sorry to hear that your experience has been so difficult. I've had difficulties too, but have found that the good parts far outweigh them. I hope you find some solace soon.

Robin Edgar said...

"The rates of social dysfunction, mental illness, and personality disorders amonst UUs is exceeding high and this is no great surprise to me."

Might I ask what data you base that claim on or is it simply your personal opinion based on your own interactions with U*Us? BTW It would be no great surprise to me if what you are saying is true but I am wondering what basis in fact your statement has.

I see a lot of psychological projection going on in the U*U "religious community" and take note of the fact that a disproportionately high number of U*Us seem to enjoy labeling me as "psychotic", a "nutcase", "crazy", "unwell", a "delusional fruitcake" etc. etc. ad nauseum

Comrade Kevin said...

Robin,

I base my observations on the fact that I have noticed that with any group that feels disenfranchised by the rest of society, inevitably many people will have neuroses, emotional illnesses, and personality disorders.

A faith tradition that is full of deeply insecure people is a haven for these sorts of things and I could give any number of examples to back that statement up.

I don't wish to gossip, so I'm not going to provide names and situations.

Robin Edgar said...

OK Kevin. I do have to agree that a goodly number of the U*Us I know have shown signs of being "deeply insecure people" as you put it. Indeed I do believe that I have mentioned this on occasion myself. I do not mind naming names and I am not engaging in "gossip" when I say that Rev. Diane Rollert's written depositions to the Montreal police force, in which she claims to be "very frightened" of me, that resulted in my recent arrest on dubious criminal charges that are based on the flimsiest of "evidence" can really be only one of two things. Either Rev. Rollert is a deeply insecure person who appears to be suffering from at least moderate paranoia or she is knowingly and willfully lying to the police in deeply misguided efforts towards obtaining a restraining order or injunction that would prevent me from continuing my peaceful public protest in front of the Unitarian Church of Montreal. I suppose that it is within possibility that Rev. Diane Rollert is indeed telling the truth when she claims to be "very frightened" of me due to what she perceives as "threats" in these emails that I sent her and a brief personal encounter described in this TEA blog thread. My own feeling however is that she is lying through her teeth and I hope to be able to convince a judge that Rev. Diane Rollert lied to the police if and when my case goes to trial. OTOH I won't be too disappointed if the judge comes to the conclusion that Rev. Rollert is a deeply insecure person.

Anonymous said...

Hello,

Kevin, have you ever made Jesus your best friend, or have you only experienced the religion of Christianity?

The religion of Christianity does not save anyone. The denomination of UU's do not save anyone either. Only a real relationship with Jesus will save you. Do not go searching for a new religion - find a friend in Jesus. Raise your hands to heaven and cry out, "Jesus, I want to really know you as my Savior, as a real friend that I can talk to and who talks to me." Until you know Him as a real friend, you will keep searching...in vain.

Theresa

Rev. T. Monkey said...

Comrade,

My own problems with Unitarian Universalism led me to your blog post. Interestingly, while my own experiences of UU have been radically different from those you describe, my feelings about the denomination are similar. As Gertrude Stein once remarked about her hometown of Oakland, CA, when it comes to Unitarian Universalism, "there is no there there."

In your experience, UU is "a loose confederation of misfits who have rejected traditional religion." How I wish this were true! The church I attend is filled with people who have kept the boring trappings of organized religion while simply jettisoning any actual religiosity. And the congregation is anything but misfits; most of the congregation are professionals and academics who have purchased the insurance company culture's fears of risk wholesale. And now we face tension in the denomination between "home grown" UUs and the rest of us (pejoratively called "come-inners") who joined because we were running from rabid dogmas. That tension, with its us-them mentality, runs counter to everything I understand about the word "universalism."

"UUism is akin more to a social organization rather than a faith tradition." Agreed wholeheartedly. Oddly, I don't think this is because we're a collection of ragtag individuals as much as it is that we've taken on a culture of preaching to the lowest common denominator. Think your sermon might offend a member of the congregation because you mention "Jesus," "God," or the "sacred"? Then leave those words out and replace them with platitudes that are so inoffensive as to be toothless.

"If it is to survive as more than a small niche group of often radical leftists..." Alas, I don't even experience UU as that. If only my congregation had some radical leftists! At best, my church is filled with a group of professional liberals who operate by the NPR playbook. The range of political discourse within our church is far narrower than that within the Catholic Church, for example, and the UUA seems increasingly reactionary, as it tries to "make up" for its "everything goes" image.

Someone once described the UUs as the church that believes in salvation through legislation. Oh that we actually even believed in some kind of salvation.

Best to you on your journey with Christ!

Cheers,
Jason

Rev. T. Monkey said...

P.S. For those who still think UU has something to offer, but who are a bit tired of business as usual, the Pirates of the Unitarians are looking for a few good, erm, pirates.

Yarr.

Comrade Kevin said...

Jason,

I appreciate your comments. :-)

Your experience and mine have not been wholly dissimilar. Allow me to comment point by point to what you've said.

When I mentioned in my post that UUs are "a loose confederation of misfits who have rejected traditional religion," I meant that in being professionals and academics who have stripped away anything remotely religious from worship, they are truly lost souls. To me, that's the definition of misfit. They rejected traditional religion wholesale and are locked in their own private existential dilemma. And yes, there is no there there.

The tension between born UUs and converts like yours truly was one of the many reason I chose to leave the faith.

The radical leftists I encountered were at youth cons which taught me why free love, peace, love, and the libertine counter-culture of the 1960s imploded upon itself. Oh, the stories I could tell.

I had never contemplated before that UUs preach to the lowest common denominator, but I see what you're saying. In the process of whittling anything that could be construed as remotely religious, Unitarians are reduced to utterly nothingness. You can't be everything for everyone and thus was my frustration with Unitarians. Nowhere is it written that a person can get exactly what they want at all times. Yet many have come to expect that.

I encountered many professional liberals who toed the NPR party line, but they often tended to lack conception of irony whatsoever.

And I agree, the UUA will be fighting a battle against its "anything goes" reputation apparently forever.

I think what is most frustrating is that everyone has articulated the problem but no one really wants to fix it. It's apparently much more fun to pontificate and theorize.

Robin Edgar said...

I hate to have to break it to you but this page is No. 3 in Google for a search on Yet Another Unitarian*Universalist Nutcase. . .

Of course The Emerson Avenger is No. 1! ;-)

Comrade Kevin said...

Nutcases of the world unite! :-)

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Steve Coenen said...
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Steve Coenen said...
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Hummingbbird said...

I am coming across this blog years after it was written. I have not read any of your other stuff, nor many of the comments in response to this passage. I came across it, actually, in a search for ex-unitarian universalist in google.

The truth is, I used to be a UU. I grew up (from about the age of 2) attending a UU church with my mother and younger sister. I remember feeling a lot of love from people there as a child. As I got older, however, and learned more about adult responsibilities and actions, I realized what an un-loving place my church could be. Many people in the church were content to be there Sundays, but not participate in the running of the church (which is not uncommon in any religion) but I found myself as a teenager participating and helping more in the church than most of the adults.

There was also the issue of changing ministers. People could never agree on the people who came to lead at that church. I recall attending one meeting in particular. There was discussion I believe about the pros and cons of the current minister (although the real topic I cannot exactly recall, it was so long ago and my focus was not on the topic but on the conflict of the people around me). I was about 16 or 17 at the time, and finally left to sit in the sanctuary alone because I could not stand the arguing and conflict between people who were supposed to care about each other. Our church had great stained glass (Christian themed, the main window being a laid down cross in the sanctuary; the stained glass windows are a source of pride for that church, however their themes and truths are hardly discussed) and I was looking up at one in particular, on the ceiling of the sanctuary. It is a round window from which the main light hangs in the center of the room, and one panel in particular contains the statement "Beloved, let us love one another."

At a break during the meeting, I quietly walked up to the large notepad for the meeting and turned the page, and wrote those words. "Beloved, let us love one another." When the people came back from break, they were astounded by the words I had written, like they had been missing that the whole time. "The wisdom of a child" I heard someone say. I recall the rest of the meeting being a bit more civilized and adjourned shortly after.

I left that church soon after and never looked back. I started to date my future husband (a Christian) and when he shared concern for having a unified Christian family I simply said "teach me, and if this is not for me we can end it there." I have grown to love God and Jesus more and more. I overcame the fear I once felt at even mentioning the name Jesus. It surprises me greatly how much that name put fear in my heart as an unbeliever. What surprised me the most about becoming a Christian, however, was how much God had been in my life the whole time. I realized when I wrote those words "Beloved, let us love one another" that they were not my truth, but God's. They were even made complete to me: "for God is love; and everyone that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God." 1 John 4:7.

Hummingbbird said...

(Part II)



I have since returned and taken photos at that same church. It amazed me to take photos of the stained-glass windows I grew up around my whole life and to see them in a whole new way. God had surrounded me the whole time I was there, I just couldn't see it. One series of windows depicts the seeds (Matthew 13:3-8) falling for the birds, and on the hard ground, and among the thorns. Finally the last pane shows those on good ground, blossoming into beautiful flowers. I am one of those flowers.

My heart continually hurts for the seeds I left at that church. Those who fell among the birds, hard ground, and thorns. The people who loved me when I was young and who I still care so deeply about today. I have hardly spoken with any of them these past 10 years. I am friends with a few on Facebook, but it breaks my heart to see the pain and anger in their lives against God (even if the posts aren't directly saying so, I can see a loathing for Christian things). I awoke this morning thinking of one woman in particular, who I have not spoken with in 10 years. She is in her mid 80s now. I don't know exactly how to reach out, but it makes me so sad to think that she could pass away not knowing Jesus in her heart. I know the people from my past were broken from God for many reasons, but I know He loves them all; gay, atheist, unbeliever, UU. I still love them all. I am currently reading a book, More than a Carpenter by Josh McDowell. The book just shows how concretely it can be concluded who Jesus is and was and is to be. That he did die for our sins and is the Son of our Father God. To me, it couldn't be clearer. I remember not thinking about any of that, when I was a UU. Some of it was because I was a child, but a big part was that it was never taught to me. I was given freedom to believe what I wanted, but I wasn't taught my options (although we explored Native Amerianism, Buddhism, etc.).

I am not sure how to end this post, except to say thank you for your blog post. I am encouraged to know I am not the only Christian sprung from a UU background. Although he would be considered more of a catholic figure, I admire Saint Patrick (yes, of St. Patrick's day) who returned to the place of his youth (and slavery) to teach the Truth to the people of his past, where many were saved. I pray God shows me a way to bring Jesus to those I once loved in a similar way.

Thank you for reading this, my testimony and calling of my heart.

Unknown said...

Thanks Kevin for your brave testimony. I was a Unitarian Universalist for about 10 years. I was in a congregation in an eastern state that did respect God/Goddess and was supportive of exploring different forms of worshipping God and Goddess. However, my experiences with UU churches in several other states, on my travels and in my current state in the midwest, show a domination by athiests. They are too chicken to admit they are athiests but people who believe in God, Goddess, Jesus, or any other Divine Source deity are suppressed and made to feel unwelcome. References to God are removed from hymns and the minister cannot even mention Divine Source or God without being at risk of the wrath of the control-freak athiests. The lay person Boards run these UU churches, and it is like a trip to a place where God does not matter. Athiesm is programmed insidiously - I did not realize how far away from God and Goddess that I was until I left the UU faith for good several years ago. Walls are built in your mind to keep you away from God, as a result of being exposed too long to UU ideas. It almost borders on mind control programming. I have now reconnected with God in my own way, with a connection to my Guardian Angel, Jesus, and also I have started to once again study Celtic spirituality as I did many years ago. You don't know what you have until it is gone - and I would certainly have ended up in a mental hospital or worse had I continued on my UU path away from the divine, entangled in the false lies of athiesm and its hate of God.

Unknown said...

I can echo the comments about treatment of outsiders who visit a UU church. I visited a couple of other UU congregations, other than the one I ended up being a member of, and leaving. I was pretty much ignored, a couple of people briefly spoke to me but no one took any real interest in me being there. I asked one of the congregations if they had any neopagan groups (my primary interest at that time-my path is far expanded now), and the guy (an older gentleman) looked at me like I had stepped off a spaceship, and said, no they did not. It was NOT welcoming, to say the least. And once I stepped forward in my UU congregation as believing in Divine Source, I was discriminated against and made to feel unwelcome, and after trying to adapt, I left for good several years ago. I have not missed them, and given the lack of contact from the congregation and even the Minister (whom I tried to start a dialogue about the lack of God in the UU church), they don't miss me either. I think this lack of regard for people comes from their lack of connection to Divine Source (or God, Goddess, Jesus, Bhudda, whatever title we give it-God is one and creator of all). Being cut off from Divine Source, they have no love even for themselves so we can hardly expect that they will love others-except other athiest UUs (terms pretty much mean the same anymore).

I have no anger against the UUs, rather I pray that they can find God and heal themselves. I forgive these athiests-as Jesus said, they know not what they do. They are isolated even from themselves, because they have lost their path to God.

I know that there are individual differences between different UU congregations, and there well may be some UU congregations out there who do truly accept Divine Source and worship as human kind was meant to do. By all means, if you know of such a UU congregation, please post on here. And I don't mean some mealy-mouthed athiest flavored watered-down version of worship - I mean a place where God/Goddess/Divine Source is revered and God's love is flourishing. Please child, I don't need this UU athiest nothingness in my life any longer.

If you are currently attending a UU church, I encourage you to get away from it for a while and explore God/Divine Source - find some good spiritual coach to help you discern your path. You are part of an athiest enterprise, and you are far away from God. Your anxiety and unrest are because of this. You must separate from the UU influence if you want to find God again. I support you and pray for you as you find a way back to your Divine self.

Sasha Kwapinski said...

I may have been a good Unitarian about two hundred years ago (back in Channing's day), when it was actually more of a religious faith. My first introduction to the UUA was from reading printed literature (articles, pamphlets, advertisements, etc.). Nothing was mentioned about any political advocacy-certainly not a left-of-center political agenda. After I became personally involved, however, I began encountering all of the political advocacy. This, (IMHO) called into question the UUA's claim to be a "creedless religion," since what I was seeing amounted to little more than a political creed. Nobody ever explained to me what the necessary connection was between liberal religion and leftist politics -and, so far, nobody ever has.

Sasha Kwapinski said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
LorriePaige said...

I agree with you Kevin.

I recently left and posted my feelings about UU in my blog, and here it is below. Mind you this is my impression on the organization, obviously there are different opinions:

I had been a member of Unitarian Universalism for several years. One of the reasons I had joined was because they would always boldly and proudly teach and preach individualism and self-expression.

But recently I have seen that they do not practice what they teach and preach. The truth is they are more similar to a cult in actually wanting all members to agree with the powers that be. At best, while they may say they are a "questioning religion, you can question as long as it's the "right question" within their organization so they can give you the answers they want you to hear that's pre-formed by the powers that be. It's hypocrisy. They are not that blatant about it but it comes out in subtle intimidation, bullying and censorship if one should voice differently from the UU mass mind. And this is not just from UU exclusively, but their subgroups as well, like Covenant of Unitarian Universalist Pagans (CUUPs), which I was a member of also.

You can say that all religions are similar because the majority rules with them too, but UU claims strongly that they are different from other religions and that each voice matters, but this is not true. I have spoken in disagreement about certain political matters and they have either ignored or censored my words. Fortunately, they can not censor what I have to say here.

Ironically, for UU to be so much into social justice causes, they are one of the most socially uneducated, politically ill-thinking people I have ever seen. They haven't got a clue as to what is going on in the real world, but simply leave it up to what they read in their local newspaper and on the Internet and consider it as Gospel. Also ironic is there is a lack of justice in their organization. The word "objective" is not in their vocabulary.

UU and CUUPs are not only similar to a cult, they also suffer from what I believe is a clinically undiagnosed form of schizophrenia "as a group", as I don't know each individual so I don't know the percentage of individuals in the group that may suffer from schizophrenia.

SCHIZOPHRENIA

schiz·o·phre·ni·a
ˌskitsəˈfrēnēə,ˌskitsəˈfrenēə/
noun

a long-term mental disorder of a type involving a breakdown in the relation between thought, emotion, and behavior, leading to faulty perception, inappropriate actions and feelings, withdrawal from reality and personal relationships into fantasy and delusion, and a sense of mental fragmentation.

(in general use) a mentality or approach characterized by inconsistent or contradictory elements.

This definition fits Unitarian Universalism and Covenant of Unitarian Universalism Pagans as a whole to a tee.

I am saddened to leave both organizations but I really have no regret in having joined as you really don't know how a group--or even a person--is until you are a part of it and are around them for periods of time. As you do with people, when groups simply don't listen to reason, you may break up with them, as I now have broken up with UU and CUUPs.

juliemadblogger said...

I, too, found this post in a search. I joined a UU church and was thrilled to be welcomed. But as the months wore on, I noticed the elitism in the church and the refusal to truly reach out to members who were lonely or sick. They were thrilled to donate money, and lots of it, to total strangers, while they deliberately turned their backs on the non-elite members. Finally, after seeing far too much discrimination, I wrote a private email to our central UU office. That was over the New Year's holiday at the beginning of 2014. I received a response a few days later from an administrator saying the church had to solve this in-house. However, word did get back to them, apparently. On January 10th, ten minutes after I arrived back home to my apartment in low-income housing, I received several insistent knocks on my door. There were two church bigwigs and a cop. With no evidence, no warrant, they terrorized me by accusing me of planning to murder the minister, and demanded to know where my weapons were. I responded "I don't know whether to laugh or cry."

I was standing there with the two church bigwigs towering over me, since I am only five foot one and very thin, and the cop, a woman cop who may or may not have been armed. The two church people were shaking, as if I were a dangerous, subhuman monster. Then, they had the nerve to tell me I was welcome back at church but "was not allowed to write." I said no thanks, I value the skill that I was trained in and received a college master's degree in. And I value freedom of speech and equal rights.

Much later, I read in their inner church policies that they will kick out anyone encouraging others to leave. I hadn't done that, and I was indeed paralyzed and stuck in my own town with this discrimination following me everywhere I went. I finally fled and live far away now. Ten days after i left, a buddy of mine who had been a church member whom I had defended as one who had been subject to discrimination, died. No one's talking, but under their breath, they say it was suicide. I've been blogging about this and other discrimination ever since, naming names, too, since I am far away from all that now, and safe.

Jew guy said...

Hi Kevin;

I agree with you!

I tried to make UUism work for me for 6 years or so. I met some nice people but also many arrogant narcissistic personality disordered people. The bottom line is that about 70% of the church members (and it's leadership) saw the other members as "commodities" and "donation checks"--not as human beings. Also, I am not an Atheist and despite the lip service given to the public everything at UU services seemed geared toward Atheists.

Best wishes,

Glad to be away from UUism

barttheanorak said...

Thanks for this Comrade Kev. I am an evangelical Christian (converted at 16 in 1990) but at times I feel I am clinging on by my fingernails as I find it harder and harder to counter people's counter-arguments in a loving way and sometimes I feel Hebrews 6 & 10 are all that stands between me and going down a woolly route like UUism.

cstobart73@virginmedia.com - note I will only accept replies if they are not seeking to dangle me over the pit, I can do that to myself for England!

Dont_Bother said...

Kevin,

You offer no scientific, nor medical evidence of your claims.

It sounds as if you are trying to substantiate your beliefs about UU as a whole based on conflicts you have personally had with a number of people, degading those people to justify your position.


This is not only contrary to the seven UU principles, it is unhealthy psychological behavior.

Dont_Bother said...

Kevin,

You offer no scientific, nor medical evidence of your claims.

It sounds as if you are trying to substantiate your beliefs about UU as a whole based on conflicts you have personally had with a number of people, degading those people to justify your position.


This is not only contrary to the seven UU principles, it is unhealthy psychological behavior.

Genevieve Rohan said...

Kevin,

As a UU of 25 years (I am 63yo), I found your analysis both interesting and heartfelt. Much of what you wrote has also been my experience. Even so, I stayed. Early in my time being a UU, I found that the spiritual focus I was seeking was lacking in my congregation. Because of this lack, I sought out and found spiritual traditions that filled my soul. My UU congregation fills my social justice, environmental focus and many of other needs I believe, a balanced human being may desire. It is by no means a perfect organization. It is, however, one that encourages personal freedom to explore and has started to call itself on its inaccessibility and narrow thinking.
As you continue on your spiritual journey, I know you will look to other religious organizations with the same critical eye and hopefully, open heart you brought to UU.