In Order To “Save The World” You Have To Have A Gospel…or Why Join The Church Instead of Amnesty International?

Rev. Dan Harper, over on his blog Yet Another Unitarian Universalist, reports this from the first day of Ministry Days:

Morales tried to evade the question by saying he felt it was the wrong question to ask; many people had tried to answer that question without success so we need to stop asking it. But then he went on to say that Unitarian Universalism must be concerned with social justice work, with making the world a better place, with (and I think used these or similar words) “saving the world.” But to say we want to save the world is to assert that we have a central belief. And I think many Unitarian Universalists would agree with Morales: what we believe in is saving the world through social justice work.

In his response Dan very gently asks the question that I’m going to ask not so gently…if social justice work is our center, how’s that working out for us? Aren’t we so focused on social justice work so we don’t have to do the really hard work of spiritual justice? In other words, don’t we do social justice work so we can avoid theology?

If social justice work is our center, why should anybody join a church instead of Amnesty International? or Greenpeace? or the ACLU? or PFLAG and Human Rights Watch?

In order to “save the world” you must have a gospel. So, what’s the UU gospel? What good news do you give that Amnesty, Greenpeace, the ACLU, PFLAG and Human Rights Watch don’t?


8 thoughts on “In Order To “Save The World” You Have To Have A Gospel…or Why Join The Church Instead of Amnesty International?

  1. “Save the World”, “Stand on the side of Love”. Doesn’t this seem like a bit of UU over reach? Saving the world a rather big task to ask of congregants who hopefully have full time jobs, families, and other church committees to tend too. Rev Morales needs to think salvation through here a bit I think.

  2. Good question Kim.

    Another good question would be to ask why the UUA believes that blogging about U*Us who have committed the despicable crimes of rape and/or pedophilia is itself a criminal act, specifically blasphemous libel. The outrageously hypocritical double standards exercised by Unitarian Universalists never cease to amaze me but *this* really takes the Big Fat U*U Cake. . .

  3. I fear that social justice work is over emphasized. I wish we would spend more time on spiritual development that social justice work would naturally spring from, It is a hollowness that many feel and a reason why people leave UU or are not as connected as they could be.

  4. I comment when I like a article on a website or I have something to contribute to the conversation. It is triggered by the sincerness communicated in the post I read. And on this post In Order To “Save The World” You Have To Have A Gospel;or Why Join The Church Instead of Amnesty International? I was moved enough to drop a leave a response. I want to be able to follow you, so if you are posting on other places, could you make a list the complete urls of your shared pages like your twitter feed, Facebook page or linkedin profile?

  5. I’m one of those UUs who does not think that our core purpose is “saving the world through social justice work.” I think we come to church to transform ourselves, each other, and the world. The last phrase is essential but not sufficient; nor does it only mean social justice work, individual or collective. There are so many other ways to transform the world. Be kinder to the people in your life. Plant trees. Give everything you don’t need to people poorer than you. Make meaningful art and share it with others.

    For that matter, I could argue, in good dialectical fashion, against my own summary in the previous paragraph. We’re also here to celebrate, give thanks, and just plain be: the yin to the “transformation” yang.

    BTW, not having heard Morales’s Q&A, I know about this remark only from Dan’s post, but it sounds to me as if what he was trying to dodge was the “define (i.e., choose) THE core UU theology” trap. We need theology, but I don’t think we need to articulate a theology. Some UUs want us to, but they always seem to mean that we should all adopt their theology, or else that the dissenters should go away.

  6. I don’t normally comment, however I browsed a few of the comments here and think that the this discussion is valuable and wish more people would join in.

    I don’t have any answers, but this is making me think about what our saving message is. Thank you.

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