uuworld.org: liberal religion and life

A mirror and a lens

My goal is to give you a magazine with a broad range of UU voices that truly conveys the dynamism of liberal religion today.
By Christopher L. Walton
Spring 2007 2.15.07

Printer friendly version


In the last issue of UU World, William R. Murry proclaimed the strengths of humanistic religious naturalism. (If you missed his essay, you’ll find it online at uuworld.org.) In this issue, Galen Guengerich proposes a theology of gratitude as the heart of Unitarian Universalism—and roots it in a doctrine of God (page 41). The next issue will feature stories about Buddhist ideas and practices in contemporary Unitarian Universalism.

Why, you might ask, is this magazine, which is published for members of Unitarian Universalist congregations, presenting such diverse theological perspectives? Because Unitarian Universalism is diverse. And although a denominational magazine would seem to be the organ for official theology, our association of congregations doesn’t have an official theology. Neither does the magazine. My goal is to give you a magazine that features a broad range of UU voices—a broader range, perhaps, than you’ll find in any single congregation, but one that truly conveys the dynamism of liberal religion today.

I see UU World as both a mirror and a lens. The magazine aims to reflect just what its name suggests: the UU world. It tries to portray what our religious movement is really like, at the personal, congregational, and denominational levels. This means that the magazine’s task isn’t to reflect just one set of views or one kind of Unitarian Universalism. Our first commitment is to depict the reality and diversity of modern Unitarian Universalism.

Editing is always selective, of course. There are too few pages in each issue to tell every story; regretfully, we editors are always saying no to worthy submissions and ideas. And so, while we strive to offer a true reflection of our congregations and people, we must focus. The magazine isn’t just a mirror; it is also a lens.

And how do we focus the magazine? First, on writing that rewards your attention. Second, on stories that bring Unitarian Universalism to life—stories that show individuals, families, congregations, and UU groups deeply engaged with their religion, their values, and their larger communities. In this issue’s cover story, Amy Hassinger examines the ethical implications of America’s industrial agriculture system and explains how she and her family have tried to find a “Seventh Principle” approach to food (page 28). After reading her eye-opening piece, I am thinking about my own food purchases in a new way. Her choices may not be yours, just as Guengerich’s theology may not be yours, but I hope their thoughtful attempts to bring their values to life will inspire your own.

We’re grateful for the assistance of Leah Rubin-Cadrain, a Yale senior, who volunteered as an intern in our offices in January. We also grieve the deaths of two contributors to the magazine, photographer Chris Cirker, whose work appeared twice on the cover and who died in October, and the Rev. Marjorie Bowens-Wheatley, who wrote the “What in the World?” column from 2001 through 2002 and who died in December.

See sidebar for links to related stories.

more spirit
more ideas
more life