Saturday, June 03, 2006

The timing is so weird.

Is this some kind of cosmic joke, God?

Tomorrow I am standing in front of God and the entire congregation of Grace Episcopal Church to be conditionally baptised in the language of the Trinity. I am going to get washed at the font and receive an annointing by the Bishop. I am officially joining the Body of Christ.

Today I got a plain brown envelope with a copy of the book that contains my essay about being a Unitarian Universalist Christian. On the eve of the day when I officially renounce unitarianism and become, once and for all time, a Trinitarian.

I read the essay again, and it was ok. I was surprised it was the first one in the book. I was dissapointed there were a couple of mistakes in editing. I was embarrassed to read the little author's blurb because it is already so outdated. (Everything in it has changed: I am not a childbirth teacher. I am not a tarot reader. I am not active in my UU church.)

But one thing I hope is true: It might just be helpful to a UU who is seeking a deeper relationship with God. I can only pray that the person who needs to read it will find a dusty copy on some shelf in their minister's collection and be curious and pull it out and take it home. I can only pray that when the next Christ-seeker walks into my former minister's office and asks if Unitarians can be Christians, he can hand her the book and say "yes".

What is so strange about this artifact of my journey is that I feel like I have changed so much in such a short time. This little time capsule of my faith reinforces the true scope of the changes. I wrote most of the essay within a couple of months of my conversion, at a time when I could hardly imagine the changes that were being wrought. I think if I had known, I might have been afraid. But now, looking back at it, I can only be awed and humbled by God's work in my life. I can only be grateful for his gentle hand. I can only be amazed at the results.

Tomorrow God finishes what I started in the pond two and a half years ago. Tomorrow, my baptism will be complete.


Good one....


SingingOwl said...

I wish I could read the essay. I took a look at the link to the book, and I am surprised to note that there is a group of Unitarian Universalist Christians. I confess, I do not understand that. I know, you were one, but you did not stay. Can you enlighten me?

Rachel's Big Dunk said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Rachel's Big Dunk said...

Hi SingingOwl,

I would post it, but I have to admit, I find it slightly embarrassing. The basic gist of it is described in my post "Take me to the River" which is linked on the sidebar.

Unitarianism was a heresy from the early days of Christianity. It was the belief that Jesus was basically a man that was somehow made divine by God. He was not, therefore, an original part of God in the sense of the trinity. Universalism is another heresay that states that all souls will be rectified with God in the end. There is no belief in eternal damnation. These two heresies eventually became denominations. In the 1950's, Unitarianism here in the states, because it was non-creedal, began to become much more humanist and even atheist in it's orientation. Universalism as a denomination was struggling, so in the 1960s, they merged. What is left is a kind of umbrella denomination that strives to accept people of all faith paths. (They don't do so well accepting Christians, though, mostly because many UUs are angry ex-christians.) Anyway, the history of the denomination is grounded in Christianity, but in it's present incarnation, it is not Christian, although there are certainly Christian congregations within the UU. (It is confusing, isn't it?! LOL)

I was born and raised a UU and converted to Christianity while I was attending a UU church. A lot of people are happy to be Christians in the UU church, but for me, I felt I really needed to be in community with other Christians, and that wasn't really possible in my particular congregation, where I was one of the only ones.

If you would like to email me privately, I'll send you my draft of the essay.

RuthRE said...

Many blessings on your special day!

SingingOwl said...

Yes, I should have been more clear. I understand the roots and the later merger of the Unitarian and the Universalist churches. What I meant was that I do not understand how one can stay while being a Christian. A lot of people are happy to be Christains in the UU church? That is what I never knew, and really don't get!

And I'd love to see your essay if you are willing to share it. I find your whole blog so fascinating (makes me praise God)! Do you have my email?

Rachel's Big Dunk said...

Hi Singing Owl,

I don't have your email. Please send it to me! (Mine is on my profile.)

I can't really speak for others, but I stayed in the UU church for 2 years after my conversion because I believe that God was asking me to be there. Believe me, I struggled with it. And felt quite sure that if I didn't have some outside Christian support (ie my Spiritual Advisor and a church I dropped in on regularly) I would never have been able to stay as long as I did. But I felt, somehow, that God wanted me to stay for awhile as a kind of ministry, perhaps. There were a lot of hurt and angry former Christians in my church and by being there and sharing my journey with them, I hope I helped a little.

Many other Christians are UUs because they don't resonate with the dogma of more traditional Christian churches, but still feel drawn to follow Christ. They feel that the openness of the UU church allows them to explore their faith in a less formal way. Plus, I do think that they feel an element of missionary work in their faith.

Many UUs are kind of hyphonated in their faiths. By this, I mean they are UU-Buddhists or UU-Pagans, or yes, UU-Christians. I knew (on the second anniversary of my baptism, incidentally) that I was no longer willing to hyphenate my Christianity. I was, once and forever, a Christian. It is the whole of my being. Thus, it was time to leave. So I did!

My journey makes ME praise God, too. And thank him.