Here are the top ten contemporary books promoting Universalism in America.
All is Grace: A Ragamuffin Memoir, (due October 2011) by Brennan Manning and John Blasé (Catholic)
Love Wins: A Book about Heaven, Hell, and the Fate of Every Person who Ever Lived, 2011 by Rob Bell
Christian Universalism: God’s Good News for All People, 2008 by Eric Stetson (Universalist)
Hope Beyond Hell: The Righteous Purpose of God’s Judgement, 2007 by Gerry Beauchemin
The Gospel of Inclusion: Reaching Beyond Religious Fundamentalism to True Love of God and Self, 2006 by Carlton Pearson (Evangelical)
The Evangelical Universalist:The Biblical Hope that God’s Love Will Save Us All, 2006 by Gregory MacDonald (Evangelical)
Destined for Salvation, 2003 by Kalen Fristad (Methodist)
The Inescapable Love of God, 1999 by Thomas Talbot
The One Purpose of God: An Answer to the Doctrine of Eternal Punishment, 1998 by Jan Bonda (Evangelical)
I know, I know, it’s an impressive list. It’s in chronological order with thumbnails of the book covers, but it’s still lacking. What’s missing from the list?
There’s not one Unitarian Universalist in the list. These books on Universalism have been written by Catholics, Quakers, Methodists, and Evangelicals but not one by a Unitarian Universalists. Eric Stetson is the closest thing to a UU on the list. Unitarian Universalists have abdicated the throne. Universalism is the “religion for our time” and yet the religion that wants to claim to be the religion for our time is doing its best to say absolutely nothing of relevance about Universalism. While these books made splashes and news and even the best seller list, Unitarian Universalism has found a way to not grab its own theology back and become a major voice in this growing chorus. Why? Perhaps it has something to do with God. All of these Universalists discuss God, they go into Christian theology and meet a population of Christian seekers where they are. The Unitarian Universalist tactic seems to be to ignore any theological discussion that involves a deep wade into theological language or wrestling with the concept of God or having Christianity as a conversation partner. We are in a kairos moment for one of our traditional theologies and we are not staking a claim to the title of champion. This doesn’t need to be so.
Here are some relevant and timely Unitarian Universalist attempts to stake our claim to the religion of our time. All of these people, places and resources are UU affiliated:
News from the Spiritual Underground and other Deep Places by David Owen-O’Quill
Universalist Church Resources by Scott Wells
The Welcome Table by Ron Robinson
Perhaps the Fraters of the Wayside Inn can take up the mantel of Universalism that was once theirs?