Unitarian Universalism Is A Bad Spiritual Emergency Room

Before I start, I want to remind everybody that I am an Universalist. I firmly believe that there is nothing anybody can do to separate themselves from the bosom of God. (yes, it’s more nuanced than that. buy me a drink when you see me and I’ll explain it fully)


Most Unitarian Universalists are converts; whether it’s from some other religious practice or from no practice. Because so many in our congregations are converts, a number of them come into our congregations in the midst/middle of some spiritual trauma. Hence, too many of our congregations are acting asĀ  informal spiritual emergency rooms, and doing it badly.

For those of you familiar with emergency rooms, you know that there are three things that can happen: 1)the patient can die; 2)the patient can be stabilized and moved to another department for specialized care; or, 3) the patient can be prepped for emergency surgery.

Why am I saying that many UU congregations are doing spiritual emergency room work badly? Mainly because, too often, we let people stay in trauma mode without doing the necessary work of either prepping them for surgery or stabilizing them and moving them on to specialized care (to be clear, moving them on to specialized care does not mean that these people have to leave the congregation).

How many UU congregations help congregants come to peace/find peace/own their religious past in a systematic way? Because this cannot be done willy-nilly. This is hard work.

So many of the problems that are manifesting themselves in Unitarian Universalism right now are occurring because we are not acknowledging the trauma (in all its forms), helping those who are traumatized come to terms with the trauma, and move forward in a trauma-informed way. Nothing will change until this changes.

p.s.- this also applies to the traumas in Unitarian Universalism’s past. when I talk about our history mattering, this is why.