Again, from the same blog as the last few posts:
Incident reported by a UU seminary student, about another one, at Yale Divinity school:
The class was on expository preaching. In a Christian seminary this means biblical expository preaching. Considering that both the Unitarians and the Universalists came about through close literalist readings of the Bible, and began their existences as Christian denominations, this should be fertile ground for a Unitarian Universalist.
“Should” being the operative word in the above sentence. To do that, however, one must have the slightest grasp of Unitarianism and/or Universalism.
So, our friend watched as the third year seminarian argued that since she was a Unitarian Universalist, which is a post-biblical religion, she should be allowed to use exclusively non-biblical sources for her preaching.
Here’s where it gets interesting: Ever since the early Unitarians announced that “revelation was unsealed” — which meant that while the Bible was still to be used as inspiration, God’s voice could be heard anywhere — the use of extra-biblical sources in addition to the Bible was the standard in Unitarian pulpits from at least the time of Emerson.
Think about the possibilities: the world’s great philosophers, theologians, poets, artists, thinkers of all kinds… brought in to bear on life’s problems. Or as Emerson would put it “Life passed through the fire of thought.” The possibilities are endless and have the ability to go as deep as one wishes.
During the Humanist heyday of the 1950’s the Bible was jettisoned altogether in favor of exclusively extra-biblical sources. And since the Humanists didn’t want to hear the voice of God in anything, religious meaning was jettisoned as well.
Back to our story…
He was in his first year of Yale Divinity School in the fall of 1995. The only other Unitarian Universalist in the school at the time was a third year student.
They were taking a course on biblical expository preaching, to which the third year student spent most of her time arguing with the professor that since she wasn’t Christian she shouldn’t have to use the Bible.
This is a perfect example of Unitarian Universalist exceptionalism.
Remember, there is a huge difference between maintaining one’s religious identity in a healthy self-differentiated manner and being a complete asshole and taking a metaphorical dump on the floor.
Care to guess which path this one took?
Hint: This is contemporary Unitarian Universalism… don’t expect much.
Having worn down her professors, they gave in. She did not have to use the Bible. Our friend wondered what was going to happen as the day approached for her to give her final sermon in front of the class. What inspired texts from the world’s great thinkers would she choose?
The day finally arrived as the star of this piece showed up in class to deliver her final sermon for the semester… dressed entirely head-to-toe in bright green to go with her chosen text: Yurtle the Turtle.
Our friend didn’t remember anything about the sermon except for her eye-scraping bright green costume. That, and the fact that the professors and teaching assistants in that class made fun of her mercilessly.
For realsies? Yurtle the Turtle?
Moreover….She was going to be one of their clergy?
I can’t even…..I literally cannot even……that’s not even remotely “deep” or “profound”, that’s just…..I can’t even…..