Two weekends ago, Hubby and I went to IKEA, going most of the way by subway. On the ride, we made a list of habits and practices that we would not accept in the new church. In a low moment, we thought the church just might as well have no people — that’s one way to fix the problem! — but we regained our composure over lingenberries.
But on reflection, there are some things that I will insist on. And I’m sure I don’t have a single reader who will agree with all five. Here goes.
- No flaming chalice. Apart from being a Unitarian (that is, not Universalist) emblem, the rituals associated with what could be a simple lamp-lighting have gotten too often sectarian and even a bit creepy.
- No Sunday School. This is a mode of faith formation who’s time has passed. There have to be better options, especially considering the space and liability demands it brings. One of many reason I read Unitarian Universalist minister and blogger Dan Harper.
- No liturgically-collected financial offering. We’ll take money, and perhaps even on Sunday if there’s no fuss, but if it really is “the sacrament of the free church” then we need to revisit our ecclesiology and class assumptions. And I don’t know a single young person who carries checks; some don’t even have any, and I’m not betting on bills with zeroes on them. Hint: they do use PayPal, Google Checkout and the like. Plus it probably causes more anxiety among guests than the good it creates. Heck, the last time Hubby and I were in church together, the usher passed us by. There’s no winning with this.
- No membership book. That is, a literal book. Again, this isn’t 1830.
- No children’s story in worship, also known as “a quaint tale for the sake of the adults using minors as set pieces.” And, on a personal note, at 6-foot-4, I’d have to be folded into thirds to be anywhere near the wee ones.
Whew! that’s a load off. And to think there are still some people who think I’m a traditionalist crank. (I’d add “no fattening snacks with coffee” but that might cause a riot.) Now, surely you can see how reasonable that all is, no?