Ironicschmoozer’s Weblog

Are We Protestant? Is this “Christian” Faith Formation Research Relevant to the UUA?

To see the big picture means learning about the context in which we are working, to see ourselves and our organizations as participants in larger social trends.

By studying trends and forces that affect our work, we can think together about the systems we use, live in, and perpetuate, and think together about how to articulate the changes for those we serve and those we serve with in our churches.

Lifelong Faith Associates is “committed to helping congregations develop lifelong faith formation for all ages and generations, increasing the capacity of leaders and communities to nurture faith growth.”  Its report was discussed at the LREDA (Liberal Religious Educators Association) Fall Conference in 2009.

The report’s main audience and area of focus is Christian communities and the report’s language reflects this.  However, it’s relevant to UU congregations, even those where Christian theology has a small presence.

Historically and sociologically, UUism is Protestant.  As part of the Main Line of American religion, we do reflect the dominant culture, and changes in culture affect most Main Line churches in the same ways.  While theologically we may be closer to a Reform synagogue, by and large a Jewish congregation preserves its distinctiveness from the dominant culture.  Indeed, it’s hard to convert to Judaism.  UUs have thin boundaries with the larger culture.

What I share with the report’s authors is the vision and the hope that our faith communities can shape lives from birth do death, can promote worship, service, learning, community-building and wholeness in human relations—both in our churches and in the communities where they are located.


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