Those of you who know me in real life know my pet peeves when it comes to UUs knowledge (or lack thereof) of their own history. Oh sure, most of us know the names Francis David and Michael Servetus, John Murray and Hosea Ballou. But how much do we really deal with them? In our very real and well-meaning desire to be multi-faith, have we disconnected ourselves from whence we came?
How many kids, after coming through UU religious education programs, would know what story The Red Tent is based on? If they are asked to read Absalom,Absalom! in an English class, would they know who the original Absalom was? Do any of them know the story that we get the phrase “split the baby” from?
How much more would they get from Moby Dick if, when they read “call me Ishmael”, they actually knew who Ishmael was?
If you haven’t figured out where I’m going here friends, I’ll put it in really simple language…we need to deal with our family album. And as much as I know it pains some of you to acknowledge it, we are “people of the book.”
Look at the list of people that we venerate…Parker…Murray…Channing…Ballou…Starr King…JLA…they are all people who had an intimate knowledge of the foundational book of our faith. (lest anyone forget…we are the only denomination that is named for two Christian theologies)
Wanna know why UUism is an insignificant religious voice in the larger world (for all our talk of the contrary)? It’s because we don’t the language (or at least we don’t talk it). It’s all well and good to say that we believe in the inherent worth and dignity of every person…it’s another thing to say that grace and mercy fall on the just and the unjust (I know…not exactly parallel) and since we don’t really know who the just and unjust are, we must act as if all are just.
So how are we dealing with the family album in our religious education programs? Or are we dealing with it at all?