File this under “not working on tomorrow’s sermon.”
So, when was that midcentury Universalist pamphlet published. It’s helpful to know when a clear pivot away from Christianity was made from a central authority, in this case, the “Department of Public Relations, U.C.A.”
It’s clearly post-World War Two, and presumably before the 1959 convention that ratified consolidation with the Unitarians. Any more internal evidence?
- The reference to the “four year advance.” Possibly after 1956. Can’t find dates online with associated files at the archives.
- The quotation from Harry Overstreet citing The Mature Mind.
The book was first published in 1949.
- The Universalist Circle program, a parallel to the Unitarian fellowship movement, that lasted through to consolidation.
- The 16 Beacon Street address. Offices there from 1933, per Miller, The Larger Hope, 2: 630.
- Possibly the quotation from the Brainard Gibbons, who championed this approach. Probably from his 1949 Convention sermon, or related to it. The Larger Hope, 2: 634; Spoerl, in Universalist Heritage, 4.
But the most evidence isn’t of date, but of kind. Long-time readers of this blog know I’m not fond of this kind of Universalism. (I think it’s naive; it also cultivates self-centeredness and — perversely — sectarianism.)
But I’m not unsympathic to why they wanted a religion that they though would be expansive and more optimistic. The fires of war had just died down, and a thermonuclear fire might have destroyed everything. It was a time of growth and unexpected prosperity. Why wouldn’t they respond to the times?