New book on humanism, UU theology, and the growth (or not) of the UUA

I just ordered a new book on humanism, our UU theology, and the history of our association, REGAINING BALANCE: THE EVOLUTION OF THE UUA by Michael Werner, published by Religious Humanism Press.

I’m excited for this read as this relates directly to conversations we’ve been having in the UU Growth Lab over the last two years, especially last month.    I haven’t read it yet, so I can’t recommend it yet.  But stay tuned! I’ll let you know what I think.

If this subject is of interest to you, you may order it here.

Mike Werner

Mike Werner

‘Find out the history of the UUA that no one has told you.  Find out why the UUA is declining.   Find out why there is a rightward theological turn. Find out what can reverse the downward trend.”

“The author details the cultural, philosophical and political history of the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) especially in regards to Humanism  and critical thinking.  The evolution of the UUA from a focus on reason in religion to one of radical tolerance is described along with the loss on membership.  Culturally important factors such as postmodernism, process theology, second wave feminism, value theory, new age, theological education, the “religious redefinition” game, population dynamics, and the age of narcissism in religion are brought together to show how multiple interacting forces have led to the UUA to ideological extremes of indiscriminate pluralism.  The secular revolution is then described and possible solutions for the UUA going forward presented.’

“In this book Mike Werner analyzes what is wrong with the UUA and suggests how we can correct our problems and become once again a vital and growing religious movement.  It should be read by every UU who cares about the future of our Association.”  – William R. Murry, Former President and Dean, Meadville Lombard Theological School

The History of Humanism and the Unitarian Universalist Association

Below you may find videos of a lecture by Werner.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Michael Werner is an ardent Humanist and Unitarian Universalist having been past President of the American Humanist Association, Vice President of the Fellowship of Religious Humanists, President of the Humanist Foundation, President of the Unitarian Church of Charlotte, a founder of SMART recovery,
and an adjunct faculty member of the Humanist Institute. He supports a balanced Humanism of heart and mind, reason and compassion and a balanced Unitarian Universalism that helps us discover how to be more fully human.

Comments

  1. I was worried that this book was only available in paper format and not in e-reader formats (and unintentionally reinforcing the stereotype that humanism is an aging UU demographic). Well … this book is now available for Kindle:

  2. ralph1waldo says:

    What did you think, Peter?

    I read it this weekend, with the expectation that my LA-area congregation will be discussing it this fall. A quick google suggests that it has been discussed in other congregations around the country thus far, although I haven’t yet gotten a sense of how those have gone. In any case, I thought that Werner had some good points, and connected the dots for me in ways that have changed the way I look at UUism at large. But in many ways I felt he was overly harsh and simplistic in some of his criticisms. And his arguments are unfortunately weakened by the fact that the book is poorly written in some places (needed some good copy editing), filled with redundancies and, at least in the print edition, numerous typographical errors and punctuation problems.

    Still, the topic is indeed worthy of in-depth discussion, and I hope that many congregations will consider the importance of re-emphasizing reason in religious meaning – the historic role it has played in our tradition and the potential which it offers to our future growth.

    • Thanks for your review. I haven’t finished it as it isn’t part of the focus of my sabbatical study on climate change, activism and UU ministry. Sounds like some important points.

  3. There is an article by Werner on this subject in the September Humanist magazine. I assume it is a summary of the argument in his book. http://thehumanist.org/september-october-2013/regaining-balance/

    I am very interested in this since an atheist presentation in our UU congregation earlier this year was censored for being offensive and abusive.

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