Saturday, November 7, 2009

Introductions to Unitarian Universalism

A friend who is "an agnostic or atheist" but looking for a spiritual connection has decided to look into a local Unitarian Universalist church "because anything else would seem like a fraud." She asks for suggestions on which of the many books about Unitarian Universalism might give her some further introduction and insight. Of course I've suggested "A Chosen Faith" by Buehrens and Church, but I thought I'd ask my 2-1/2 readers and any passers by if they have suggestions as well. What book/s would you recommend to someone who would like to learn more about this faith? Post in the comments, please.


  1. Hey there, DSD! I don't know which number I am. ;) But here is a book your friend may find useful:

    Being Liberal in an Illiberal Age: Why I Am a Unitarian Universalist, by Jack Mendelsohn, published by Skinner House. It's been around close to 50 years but is still worthwhile.

  2. Dibs on being the 1/2.

    Two very different possibilities:
    First, history: "Unitarian Universalism; A Narrative History," by David Bumbaugh (if the who we are and how we got here might be interesting and important to her)
    Second, poetry: "A Sonata for Voice and Silence," by Mark Belletini (there's a small sample of it at the UUA bookstore website).

  3. I'm getting a lot from David Bumbaugh's "Unitarian Universalism: A Narrative History". It is a history and not a book on theology, and not everyone will get the value from it that I am getting. It is, however, not a difficult book to read. If it's in your church library, suggest it.

    By the way, I am not a string of unintelligible alphanumeric characters. I am John A Arkansawyer. I should hope there is a difference.

  4. I love the suggestions we're getting so far--and hope to see more as well. @John A A: I'm not sure why your sign-on for comments comes out as a string of unintelligible alphanumeric characters... I think it's possible to post any name one wants if one picks the "Name/URL" option from the "comment as" menu. All I can say is...sorry about that...

  5. David Bumbaugh's book is eminently readable, and a good choice. I'd propose William R. Murry's "Reason and Reverence: Religious Humanism for the 21st Century." Murry is former president of Meadville Lombard Theological School, and this book explores religion from a perspective that dominated the faith mid-20th Century. Murry and others recognize the need for updating & this is very good stuff.

    Almost impossible to find would be my other recommendation - Clinton Lee Scott's 1949 book, "Religion Can Make Sense." Scott was a humanist Universalist minister, who had a radio show at one time. I found it in the church library of my first UU church & his writing made a lot of sense to me!


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