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Monday, June 16, 2008

the Pocket Guide

Title: the Unitarian Universalist Pocket Guide
by: William G. Sinkford

The Unitarian Universalist Pocket Guide, known as the "Pocket Guide" among UUs, is probably the book people are looking for when they pick up "a Chosen Faith," and it does its job of introducing UUism much better than that volume. Where Chosen Faith is essentially an introduction to the philosophy of Unitarian Universalism, the Pocket Guide is an introduction to the beliefs and practices, such as they are, of Unitarian Universalism.

Opening with the UU Principles, the closest thing the religion has to a creed while remaining a non-creedal faith (there is no belief of any kind a person must subscribe to to be a UU. A Christian could be a UU just as easily as a Hindu or Buddhist, and continue practicing their faith). With the little exposure I've had to UUism, it seems like the Principles need to be a bit more central, not just "follow them if you want" as they seem to be now. However, thats a different issue entirely.

The rest of the book contains chapters on "our worship" explaining the dynamics of a UU service, "Our Religious Education" about UU religious education, and numerous other subjects someone new to the faith would undoubtedly want to know about. These include a chapter on ministry, explaining what exactly a UU minister does. For a non-creedal faith, UU ministers are a lot busier, and a lot less stereotypical than one might think. Each chapter is written by a contributing author, which acts as a nice little reminder of how individual UU faith really is.

Overall, this is an excellent introduction to Unitarian Universalism. I think "a Chosen Faith" would be an excellent compliment to read at the same time, however, it really isn't required to get something out of the book.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I'm reading a good biography of Louisa May Alcott, titled _Miss Alcott's E-mail_ by Kit Bakke.

There's a chapter on UU, and how it was originally connected to transcendentalism (Emerson, Thoreau, Alcott, etc.) and the connection to nature. It has been interesting to read about.