Nobody’s storming in to lead or take over.
Published April 25, 2017
Returning to my earlier thread of thoughts, I want to pick up on what one person, believing in the final restoration of all souls, can do alone.
There are not that many options for joint action for many people who believe so. There are so few churches where this is plainly preached, and many of the activities that do attract people’s attention focus on solo study. To be a Universalist for most people, ironically, means going alone. There’s no point waiting for someone else: you must find a way to make this faith work.
This has been tickling at the back of my mind, along with the idea that there’s no need to duplicate activities and structures that typify churches and denominations. Duplication would be too much effort, with too little means, with too few rewards. Even if we have to go-it-alone, we need a shared imagination of what’s necessary, what’s desirable but can be done without, and what’s a good enough outcome. We need connections and encouragement. In time, we can federate our efforts but you can’t federate nothing.
Last week, seeing that I was approaching the four thousandth entry in my long-running blog – RevScottWells.com – and having spoken with a minister about the role of Eastern Orthodoxy in Universalist history in Hosea Ballou, II’s Ancient History of Universalism,I resolved to get a web version of it online. This, I did, as a resource hosted at the UCI’s site. See http://universalistchristian.org/books/ancient-history/ for the book; it’s a fascinating read.
But it’s also a model of how an individual can identify a task, bring it into being, share it and let it be. I hope others are encouraged to find a project that would be useful for Universalist Christians, and then share it and (as applicable) the tools used. (I briefly describe my process at http://universalistchristian.org/books/ancient-history/.) There was a role for others, who promoted the work and prompted variant versions. None of this took a budget, an organization or a committee meeting. Much valuable work requires all of these, but why not pick up the work that doesn’t, and own it?
A meetup at another meeting? Translation of a Universalist profession into a non-English language? A commitment to pray for a special need for a period of time? Identifying Universalist virtues in secular work, and donating funds?
Sharing ideas is itself a useful idea.
Also: if you know someone who would like to join the Universalist Christian Initiative, please direct them to http://www.universalistchristian.org/join/. Thanks and happiness this Eastertide.
Sincerely yours, (The Rev.) Scott Wells