Anglican in Heritage, Interspiritual in Perspective and Practice…
Most Definitely NOT Your Grandmother’s Church
Contemporary, Universalist, and Post Denominational:
The UAC is contemporary in thought, in expression, in theology, in liturgy, while at the same time being respectful of and honoring our tradition. What tradition? Our tradition is that of faithfully following the life, teachings, and example of Jesus the Christ – not an institution, not religion, but the authentic spirituality that Jesus and all of the great spiritual teachers from all traditions have taught throughout all of human history.
The UAC is universalist. We believe that salvation has already occurred. We also recognize that most people don’t realize that yet. We believe that Jesus has in fact reconciled us to God – not in some sadistic atonement ritual, but by his radical love for all people of all traditions.
We acknowledge that nothing could ever separate us from the Love that is God, the Love we find in Jesus, the Love that dwells within every human being and all of creation. We recognize that the same God of Love is found in all spiritualities and traditions, including those that have another name for God than the names we use. Jesus told us as much when he said that people would come from the east and the west to sit in God’s kingdom – and he didn’t say that they would only come from one tradition or one place. In fact, Jesus never said that it was possible to be separated from God.
We do not believe in hell, because for God to burn anyone for all eternity would make God the biggest despot in the history of the world. We also note that in the original Greek of the New Testament Jesus never used the word hell. For God to consign anyone to hell would mean that God is not the supremely forgiving and loving God that Jesus taught and that we have come to know and experience. We note with sadness that fear of the possibility of hell has been one of the greatest tools of manipulation within institutional Christianity and has led to great suffering.
We do not claim to know how this works itself out. We do not claim that a mass murderer gets the express train to heaven. Incidentally, very few of us believe in a heaven just beyond the clouds. We have a diverse view of the afterlife. We do believe that in the end God’s Love wins out, and that is good enough for us!
We are post denominational simply because we believe the day of the denomination has passed. The denominational loyalty that most of us born before 1980 knew doesn’t exist any more. We also work hard to avoid becoming a religious institution. Over time, the focus within denominational and institutional religion tends to change from spirituality to perpetuation the institution. We also notice that the “job” of institutions tends to be developing doctrine and dogma, which are always exclusive. Since our primary foundational value is radical inclusivity, we struggle against the exclusivity of doctrine and dogma.
The UAC is an Interspiritual body. Our root tradition is Christian. Since we believe that God is the source of love and life, we believe that in a very real way God created and sustains all that is, including all spiritual traditions. All of us have a great appreciation and respect for the spiritual traditions of the world. Many of us have found that other traditions complement and inform our understanding as followers of Jesus and the Christian path. We are strong advocates of interfaith dialogue and believe interfaith understanding and respect to be essential to the survival of the planet. We believe that no spiritually realized individual would ever disparage the spiritual tradition of another. We believe that when people speak negatively of any spiritual tradition they are in fact speaking negatively of God. We find the distortion of Jesus’ words in an attempt to disparage other traditions to be extremely distasteful.
The UAC is radically inclusive. All people are welcome to fully participate in the life of the UAC without restriction and without exception. We do not tolerate nor will we participate in discrimination of any kind. We feel so strongly about inclusivity that discrimination against or the exclusion of any person on the basis of age, gender, health, ability, ethnicity, marital status, sexual or affectional orientation, the presence of lack of a domestic partner, psychiatric or psychological status, or any other reason* on the part of a clergy member is cause for that clergy person to be barred from practicing as clergy within the UAC. We believe that when any spiritual body closes its doors on anyone, it closes its doors on God.
*We reserve the right to act in accord with local laws and are mandatory reporters. If we believe that a child has been or is being harmed or is in danger, or that anyone has the intent to harm themselves or another person, we will report to the appropriate authorities. We also reserve the right to strictly restrict access of convicted and suspected sex offenders to children and other at risk populations.
Shame, Guilt, and Punishment.
Do these three things sound holy to you? They don’t sound holy to us. Despite that, they have been the primary operating strategy of Institutional Religion for the past seventeen hundred years. Religion has told us that God is angry, that God is vengeful, that God can’t wait to punish us. The truth is, those kind of statements having nothing to do with any intelligent understanding of God and everything to do with petty power brokers in religious clothing attempting to manipulate good, hard-working, holy people into emptying their wallets and purses into collection plates. We are here to say: NO MORE!
WE ARE THE UAC!
Women and men; young, old, and somewhere in between; of all socio-economic backgrounds; from the country, the city, and the suburbs; black, white, brown, yellow, and occasionally green; of every sexual orientation; employed, unemployed, self-employed, retired; blue-collar, white-collar, dog collar, and no collar at all; married, engaged, single, living together, domestic partners, divorced, widowed, and some combination of the above; grandparent, great grandparent, parent, aunt, uncle, cousin, niece, nephew, and child; and so much more, all sharing the life transforming, exciting journey of being followers of Jesus.