Why I’m Joining the Unitarian Universalist Church

Today I take another step on my zig zagging faith journey. Today I am going to sign the membership book at the First Nashville Unitarian Universalist Church. This effectively completes my exodus from the United Methodist Church, but itself has been a long time coming. 

I actually knew of the UU church before I ever became a Christian. I had read of it in a young adult novel when I was eleven or so and was contemplating spirituality. The character in the book had discovered an open minded spiritual home in a local UU congregation. This prompted me to see if there were UU churches in my area- and that’s how I discovered FUUN. While I didn’t visit for many years, it was inspiring knowing there were open minded liberal religious people out there. 

I first visited FUUN when I was in college, I think. I was trying to visit as many different denominations and faith traditions as I could in order to seek commonalities and appreciate differences. However, I found a sanctuary at FUUN that transcended a simple visit. I would return to FUUN several times a year when, as I laughingly put it, “I got too fed up with Christians.” I knew I felt renewed every time I went, and appreciated that they dug from a deep well of many traditions, even my own. 

As I was beginning my departure from the UMC, I tried imagining if I would make a switch to another denomination. I was mostly split between the Episcopal Church and the UU Church. I felt that I knew I would become a UU before I died, but I didn’t know when. I felt that I wasn’t quite ready to “leave Jesus.” I felt that I needed the Eucharist. This was mostly what made me consider the Episcopal church- except for the glaring fact that the Tennessee Diocese individually is probably even more unwelcoming to LGBT people and women than the TNUMC conference! It wasn’t a solution. I also felt that wherever I went, I would still be a “Methodist sitting in another denomination.”

Over the past year in divinity school, however, I’ve been feeling more and more alienated from the Methodist tradition. When I was in discussions and Methodist theology was mentioned, when I was in groups of Methodists laughing and joking about their studies, even when I went to Annual conference– I began to feel like an outsider looking in. I began to feel like these weren’t my people, even when I knew everyone in the room. I realized there was much of Methodist theology that no longer resonated with me, or rang too hollow in practice. Did I mention I haven’t gone to a Methodist church in over a year? 

The last thing holding me back was the Eucharist. Even when I began to realize and celebrate that I don’t need to shed my Christian identity to become a UU, I felt that I needed the Eucharist. Then, I recently realized that in the past year, I had only received the Eucharist a handful of times, and two or three of those times, I was the presider! “Maybe I don’t need to receive it in reality as much as I cerebrally do,” I began to wonder. I also knew that if I ever needed it, I could always go to an Episcopalian church or celebrate it with friends. I don’t need to abandon it. 

And so, this journey brings me here today. I am ready. Deep down I have always been a UU. I just didn’t know if the UU church would accept me as one of them because I am Christian or because I am sacramental. How foolish of me! The UUs are nothing if not welcoming of all people on their journey. I am so excited to begin this new journey, begin learning their hymns, their litanies, and begin my journey of involvement in ministry here. I am ready to have a home again. 

   

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2 responses to “Why I’m Joining the Unitarian Universalist Church”

  1. KIA says :

    good for you. my wife and i are on a similar path out of christianity. the several times we have visited the UU in our area have been warm and inviting, inclusive and celebratory of diversity.
    -KIA

  2. جميلة ميخائيل ♥ says :

    You write beautifully about issues surrounding faith my brother! Last year I left Christianity in favor of Shia Islam and although I’ve never been to an actual UU place of worship, I’ve had nothing but wonderful experiences with their members. I’ve also come across many other Muslims who have found a home with the UUs while not abandoning their Muslim identity because they are afraid of going to mosque with all the recent hate-crimes against them or they are afraid of being harassed etc. and I think it’s really essential in the current state of affairs to be tolerant, open and welcoming towards different groups of people. Once again, great post 🙂

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