The Rev. Tom Schade, who lives in the Ann Arbor area, has a blog well worth reading even if you find (as I do) that you disagree with many of his blog posts.

Rev. Schade, among other things, has done a series of blog posts arguing that UUism should focus on building “virtue” and “character” among UUs and visitors, so that the church can support individuals’ efforts to actually live by the liberal values upheld by our seven UU principles.

As he says at the end of one recent blog post:

“My argument: Unitarian Universalists should stop preaching about ourselves, and stop preaching about our theological diversity. We should instead preach about the virtues that all people need to develop for the world to be saved. Instead of talking about the religion we want to be, we should be talking about the people we should be.”

As he elaborates in another blog post, he has some ideas about what these virtues should be:

“I think that the alternative to a belief-based religion is a virtue and character-based religion.  Our message should be that our lives, and the world in general, would be better and happier if we developed our capacity to act to fulfill what we love.  And we can better love if we develop certain virtues, life habits: compassion, wonder, truthfulness, humility, graceful giving, openness and self-possession. “

And in still another blog post, Rev. Schade elaborates that he sees these virtues as reflecting the “liberal religious” perspective on the world:

“Liberal Religion understood the purpose of life is human (and now, planetary) well-being…

Liberal Religion is a distinctive conception of humanity, and it draws moral and ethical implications from that to daily life.

The virtues of liberal religion are reverence, self-possession, the gemini twins of gratitude and generosity, honesty, humility, solidarity, and openness….  These virtues are the ethical implications of the way we religious liberals understand the world.”

(While we’re on the subject of “liberal religion”, a recent article in the Atlantic magazine online used survey data to argue that liberal religion is growing relative to conservative religion.  The article quotes a response from a leader of the Southern Baptist Convention, who wonders “Where are the Unitarian mega-churches?”)

I’m selectively quoting some of the blog posts of Rev. Schade with which I am most in sympathy, but he also has provocative thoughts on the role of politics in UU churches, and on issues of racial and economic justice.  His general blog address is here.

Leave a Reply