For better or worse, I was thinking theologically in the shower this morning.
Ponder, as I did, that once-common Unitarian Christian claim that “we don’t practice the religion about Jesus, but the religion ofJesus.” Well, I don’t believe that. However well we dig down to Jesus’ idea and ideal of religion, it comes mediated through the very community of faith that very much practices a religion about him. Whatever claims are made of Jesus’ humanity and deity, it seems hard to image Christianity without having fellowship with his living presence. Without that fellowship, what remains becomes something other than Christian. Sometimes beautiful and sometimes ugly, but different. And it doesn’t take that long.
Christianity will always be, to some degree and probably always to a very great degree, about Jesus and not of him. I’d like to unpack that a bit more some other time.
Now, I would like to take that of/about dynamic a farther by a degree. I think Unitarian Universalism is about Christianity, if not a faith of it. Yes, there are Unitarian and Universalist Christians and needn’t rehearse this fact. But even among those Unitarian Universalists for whom Christianity is alien, unknown, unwelcome or even hated, Christianity is the enduring context. Our polity, style of worship, forms of leadership, history, connections, lingo and culture has direct and subtle traces of its Christian aboutness. If it’s only a habit, it’s one not broken after decades of neglect and deprecation. That’s more than tradition, which suggests a past connection and for which there’s little esteem today, but continues as an itchy and integral part of our identity.
It follows, I think, that we ought to be more careful to cultivate relationships with unambiguously Christian individuals and entities. Whatever we may choose from the interchange, we surely would learn more about ourselves.