The Best Books on Universalism by Unitarian Universalists

Here are my top three recent works on Universalism by Unitarian Universalists:

The Cathedral of the World: A Universalist Theology, 2009 by Forrest Church

Universalism 101, God is Love: An Introduction for Leaders of Unitarian Universalist Congregations, 2009 by Richard Trudeau

The Gospel of Universalism: Hope, Courage and the Love of God, 1993 by Tom Owen-Towle

Yesterday, I lamented that Unitarian Universalists were conspicuously absent from the discussion of our core theology, Universalism that has been growing over the last decade.  It’s not that Unitarian Universalists no longer say anything about Universalism, it’s that what we say is not said to the larger Universalist, Christian, and religious world.  We play small.  We want to be the religion for our time, yet there has been little effort made it seems to promote these three works as major players in a resurgent movement surrounding our own theology.  Viral YouTube videos accompanied the release of Rob Bell’s Love Wins and the upcoming All is Grace by Brennan Manning.  Where was the major media (mainstream and alternative) promotion of these three works by Unitarian Universalists?  Perhaps the subtitle of Trudeau’s book is telling – “An Introduction for Leaders of Unitarian Universalist Congregations.”  Nothing wrong with that – it’s a good thing to teach our congregational leaders about Universalism. But why stop there? Is it assumed no one else would want to know or no one else would care?  The long list of titles in yesterday’s post disagrees with that approach.  There’s a  growing number of videos on sites such as uutv.magnify.net  and YouTube about Unitarian Universalism.  Perhaps the next book on Universalism by a Unitarian Universalist will get the promotion and energy it deserves.  I hope so.  There’s a growing number of people out there who are taking up our theology. Shouldn’t we be the ones teaching it to them?

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5 thoughts on “The Best Books on Universalism by Unitarian Universalists

  1. Plus universalist themes and theology in sooo much of the New Paul Perspective, in the re-examination of Karl Barth later writings, in other books like Brian McLaren’s The Last Word and the word after it, and Spencer Burke’s work; even the heart of missional church writing seems to assume a level of universalist theology i think; we gave the conversation away and also gave the new universalists a burden; they spend so much advance work on how they arent us or wont become us lol.

  2. I don’t really disagree with either this or your previous post, and I do think you raise important points. That said, I think any UU books on Universalism are going to be a harder sell strictly from a media standpoint. A big reason for the high profiles of some of the books that you wrote about previously is that they are Man Bites Dog — unexpected conclusions given their origins. A book on Universalism by a UU, though, is very much Dog Bites Man: ie, no big surprise.

    So yes, I think we might do more to lead the conversation on this topic. But that alone won’t necessarily guarantee a bigger audience anytime soon…

  3. By the way… I bought my copy of The Cathedral of the World at Barnes and Noble. I was surprised and happy to see it there and wanted to make a point of “rewarding” them for stocking it. Also, I will note that in the January after Forest Church died, the senior pastor at DSMom’s Presbyterian church mentioned him with great admiration in her annual sermon on the past year’s notable deaths…

    • What a great idea! I’ve heard it said that even though we claim to be a creedless faith, the required Ministerial Fellowship Committee reading list instills an ideology if not a theology in ministerial candidates.

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