The Ultimate Meaning of Life--preview
The Ultimate Meaning of Life

The Evolution of a UCC Style

The Evolution of a Ucc Style: History, Ecclesiology, and Culture of the United Church of ChristThe Evolution of a Ucc Style: History, Ecclesiology, and Culture of the United Church of Christ by Randi Jones Walker
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Refreshingly not a straightforward history, this is a series of theological reflections upon the history of the United Church of Christ arranged around a series of themes--the four-tradition origin myth, becoming a multiracial, multicultural church, the influences of the Reformation, Enlightenment, and Pietism, the development of a liberal style, and finally congregational polity.

Her main thesis is that the UCC has developed a particular style and that this is more important than any of the traditional central features, like polity or theology. This style is an attempt to hold all the various branches of the Reformation together in one body while also expanding to include postcolonial, African-American, Native Americans, feminist, postmodern, LGBT, and other voices/communities of critique.

She contends that this remains an ecumenical effort, but different from the vision of the denominations founders, who completed much of the difficult work of the union just as the civil rights, women's, and anti-war movements began to shake the foundations on which the union was based.

The two things I missed were more detailed discussions of those alternative communities and their influence on the church and the fact that the book is a decade old and thus doesn't discuss the more recent developments and trends--the God is still speaking campaign, the growing number of Pentecostals in the church, and our movement toward more environmental activism.

But I liked it so well I think I'll use it to teach a class here at church on UCC history next year as we begin preparations for the 500th anniversary of the Reformation in 2017.

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