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Is Mainline Christianity Waning?
Rev. Robert Dorris
people become more educated and read the information about past
histories, read about new discoveries in science and archaeology,
watch TV Specials on all the wonders in the world around them, and are
exposed to religious teachings from around the world, it becomes
harder and harder to persuade people to follow teachings which can
easily be determined to be a lie. It is harder and harder to
persuade people to follow teachings which defy all reason and logic.
church has become like an ostrich with its head stuck in the sand.
It denies all the new discoveries and refuses to amend its teachings
because they have worked to control the people for hundreds of years.
of all the conflicting teachings available individuals are left in a
state of confusion as to what to believe. Ministers are left in
a state of confusion -- they are torn between teaching the truth as
they understand it or maintaining the church doctrine which they know
to be in error. They are afraid to undermine the beliefs and
faith of the few parishioners which they have. They are afraid
that if they teach the truth it will add to the confusion. Above
all they are afraid to preach the truth because they will be out of a
on top of Confusion -- What are we to do?
have flocked to churches which make them feel good. Many have
turned their back on the church in any form. Many have taken up
the practice of Wicca because it gives them purpose and direction.
A few have set out to pursue the truth and question every teaching and
every conclusion which is presented to them, but have not the courage
to say this is what I believe; this is a teaching in which I have
faith. And -- Yes, there are very, very many who just want to be
told what to believe. There are a few who insist that all
scripture must be accepted just the way it is written or rejected in
where does this leave us?
view the members of the American Unitarian Conference as a group of
searchers and seekers of the Truth. We all believe there is one
God for all of humanity, and we rightly have many individual ways in
which we relate to God. We all, I think it is safe to say,
believe in the use of both the heart and the mind in relating to God
and the teachings which we have been given. Additionally we, as
individuals, believe we have the freedom and the responsibility to
follow the truth as we understand it.
follow the truth is not just to know what our truth is, but it is also
to put that truth to work in our daily activities. Right or
wrong we have to live what we say we believe. God will let us
know if we have been mistaken. I know—I have been corrected
many, many times. I am fairly new to this journey and still make
many mistakes and receive correction. I am still learning and
will continue to learn as long as I exist on this earth. I have
been on this journey only for 44 years, some would say 56 years, but I
feel I am maybe at the grade school level of all that there is to
learn. Learning, I feel, is the key to this life. We are
here to learn and when we stop learning -- we depart from this life.
are asking how do we separate the true from the false? How are
we to know the correct teachings? How are we to learn?
you follow the scripture teachings; the true scriptures are written
upon your heart; God speaks to you through the "Still Small
Voice"; and whatever you do or whatever you accomplish must be
done with a clear conscience and without doubt. You will pray
for wisdom and knowledge and the ability and opportunities to apply
what you have learned. As you apply what you have learned,
more will be given for you to learn. Will it be easy? -- No!
Will it be an adventure? -- Most definitely!!
will find that true teachings are hidden everywhere around you.
You will develop your own sense of what is true and false. I
have developed several filters which I apply to all written scripture.
These filters work for me. Maybe you can also develop your own
set of filters.
there are a few who will object to this notion and state that each
individual is not capable of interpreting scriptures for themselves
because they lack the proper knowledge or education. Nothing
could be further from the truth. No one is in a better position
to interpret scriptures for you than you. You know your own
level of understanding and you know which of the teachings you can
apply in your own actions. As you learn to apply a few of the
teachings, others will become meaningful and you will learn to apply
them also. This is a never ending process of growth and
a minister, I have five prime responsibilities.
to expound and live the truth as I know it.
to serve as a guide to individuals who are on the journey by sharing
my thoughts and experiences.
to keep learning and then applying what I learn.
to love God and serve Him with heart, body, soul, and mind.
to love humanity and serve it with the talents I have and in the
opportunities which I am given.
are not just a ministers responsibilities, but the responsibilities of
all who wish to take the journey of being a child of God.
brings us full circle back to the question: Is Christianity
churches may be fading, but Christianity is not. Christianity is
slowly being redirected away from teacher or Elder Brother worship
back to the authentic teachings of Jesus. A careful reading of
his teachings will show that he was very Unitarian in his thoughts.
He taught the gospel of the Kingdom of God being at hand. He
taught the worship of the Father, the One God. His teachings
transcends Judaism, modern Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Druidism,
Huna, Buddhism, and many other forms of worship. He taught the
brotherhood of all mankind, our relationship to the Father, and the
possibility of the further development of mankind. He did not
want to be worshipped. He wanted his teachings to be followed
and expanded. He wanted humanity to strive to reach its full
was not new with Jesus, but is one of the oldest belief systems known
to mankind. The teachings of Jesus, however, can be rightly
ascribed as the foundation of Christian Unitarianism. Our
American Unitarian Conference is striving to bring back the Unitarian
perspective or faith system. This is a religion and we are
looking to establish our own churches but this takes time and a lot of
effort on the part of many dedicated individuals. It can be done
and will be done with much hard work and prayer.
are not starting a new religion but reviving an ancient one. I
would hope and pray that you will want to be an active part of this
rebirth of a true religion, maybe the most ancient one known to
of us, as individuals, have been given unique talents and abilities.
We each have the responsibility to use these talents in an appropriate
way. The American Unitarian Conference needs each and every one
of us to dedicate a portion of our time and talents to the success of
the conference and to the reestablishment of the American Unitarian
Tradition. Meditate on this, pray about it, and bring what you
will, with Love, to assist in God's work.
© 2003 American Unitarian Conference™