Sunday, December 29, 2013

UU Self-Congratulation

Just a random UU congregation, and what it says about itself.  I was trying to imagine what different things an evangelical congregation would say, and quickly noticed that the equivalent statements - claiming that we were spiritually intense, or righteous, rather than spiritually tolerant - would come off as arrogant.

I'm not entirely sure what spiritually tolerant means, other than the idea that you don't say that other people's beliefs are wrong.  It comes from the mythology that if white suburban Americans will just be a good example and not say that their Christianity is right and your goddess-worship is wrong, then eventually - okay, maybe not right away but eventually - there won't be any wars any more.  Because Islamic people would have learned from observing our good example and just see how much better it is.

One of the ingredients of Manifest Destiny, I recall.


james said...

How about "spirit-filled?"

Spot checking how churches describe themselves around here shows phrases like "spirit-filled", "worship community", "service", "connecting with God", and "no perfect people allowed." Only the "spirit-filled" comes off as arrogant--but it is a doozy. It's a little like calling myself wise--most of the time I'm not.

Assistant Village Idiot said...

Yep. I think it has come to mean only "openly pentecostal," and may be in actuality less preening than it sounds. But as it stands, it is as self-congratulatory as it gets.

bs king said...

We routinely get postcard sized mailings from a local church that use about a dozen of the hundred or so words on the card to inform us their pastor wears jeans.

I don't know why but that always makes me feel a little stabby.

Assistant Village Idiot said...

New! Improved! Now comes in stylish denim!

We like the church music - and style - of our first, best, real Christian experience. Which for many people means church camp, or youth group, which they keep trying to recapture.

Cabbie, take me to my childhood, please.

james said...

Sometimes, though things can evolve. I'm more drawn to a liturgical service shaped around communion than to the standard issue Southern Baptist (or African Baptist) styles I grew up with. But I still prefer that the congregation have a voice in the singing, which tends to bias me against overamped "contemporary" services and male choir chanting.

I like some of the contemporary _songs_ just fine (though not keen on the happyhappyjoyjoyMeMe choruses). I've never tried to see if the styles I like are more similar to the old hymns--I'm not sure how to compare. Have to think about that.