Book review: Our Chosen Faith, An Introduction to Unitarian Universalism

by John A. Buehrens and F. Forrester Church


I’ve enjoyed attending a Unitarian Universalist church about every other Sunday for a while, and thought I
should know a little more about it, so I picked up this book.

That’s a lie. I have no idea where the book came from, whether it was a gift or a request for review or a purchase I forgot I had made. It just appeared on my bookshelf, without getting logged in my review queue. I love mysteries, so I read it.

U.U. is a merger of two denominations—Universalists and Unitarians—and to be honest, I didn’t learn a lot from the book. That’s because there is no creed to learn, no rituals to perform, no insistence upon a single belief system, while at the same time it demeans none of them. It’s pluralism to the extreme. Fits me to a T, right?

U.U. is a sort of common-sense, practical religion. It feels, to me, open and honest. There is no denial of sin, death, evil, and suffering, but rather there is a humanitarian call to ease or overcome them. Those U.U.’s who have a Christian bent tend to lean toward “works” in the great faith-vs-works debate. I’ve never been good at denying scientific findings (like evolution), and have a tough time believing in any particular afterlife scenario over another, so U.U. fits me there, too. This quote I found absolutely fascinating:

Death is a fairly recent entry in the scheme of evolution. The beginnings of life on this planet were sponsored by single cell organisms, which replicated themselves by division. One generation of beings followed another, each identical to the last. We were immortal, until we became interesting.

But how do I explain the book? I thought I’d just list a few more quotes, and maybe something will resonate with you as well.

Unitarian Universalism might best be described as a life-affirming rather than death-defying faith.

“The Universalists believe that God is too good to damn them, whereas the Unitarians believe they are too good to be damned!” –Star King, p. 34

The light of God (“God” is not God’s name, but our name for that which is greater than all and yet present in each) not only shines down upon us, but also out from within us.

One Truth, many truths; one God, many faiths; one light (Unitarianism), many windows (Universalism).

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