Which Group Do I Ignore? or What To Do When One Is Multi-Confessional

Note: if your first thought is to comment or argue with me about my use of the word “confessional”, don’t go there. I am not the one.

Many of you who read this blog on a semi-regular basis probably remember that I’m doing an independent study on UU History and Polity. I haven’t talked much about the other two classes that I’m taking this semester. Well, this post is about one of them.

Aside from Discernment of Calls and Gifts (a decidedly Quaker class), I’m taking Constructive Theology. This is the class that puts me in a quandary.

The required reading list is small; only four books. Three of them David picked out. The fourth is where the quandary comes in. According to our syllabus, we are to pick a book

From one’s own confessional community.

Ah. There’s the rub. When I first read it, my question was “how does one deal with this when the community is non-confessional?” The longer I’ve sat with it though, I saw how wrong I was. UUism isn’t non-confessional…..it’s Multi-Confessional. And that presents an even bigger quanday.

So in picking a book, what book should I pick? Do I pick JLA because he’s my default when it comes to U/U theologians? Or do I pick something by a lesser read theologian (the question then would be which one)? Do I pick something from the 19th century people like Emerson, Parker or Ballou? Or skip that completely and pick something from more contemporary people like Forrest Church or Rebecca Parker? How about Varieties of Religious Experience?

Or do I pick scripture….and if I do…which one?

Do I chuck it all and go outside the usual and pick something like Souls of Black Folk or Faces At The Bottom Of The Well? Do I choose Catherine Keller and Katie Geneva Cannon? Emilie Townes and Jacqueline Grant? Or how about Amy-Jill Levine?

And let’s not forget the contemporary atheists like Dawkins, Sam Harris and Christopher Hitchens.

In choosing one, which group do I ignore? And how does one choose a book as representative of the multi-confessional nature that is UUism?


2 thoughts on “Which Group Do I Ignore? or What To Do When One Is Multi-Confessional

  1. Well, I admit that I had to look up “confessional community”, “constructive theology’ and then “systematic theology” to get a handle on what you were talking about (ah, the joys of language).
    If it was me, i would start by thinking of what is the purpose of the class – Based on my own guess of that purpose, I would go with the theologian in UU circles that is close to my own understanding. Interesting thought about multi-confessional – in the context of the class, does this defeat the whole reason for using theology of one’s own confessional community? or (as I wonder) that we are seeing too many small pictures and not enough larger pictures in our 21st UU theology? Not sure if I was close enough to your question, but interesting food for thought.

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