Wednesday, December 10, 2014

The Little Universalist Library

I had a large backpack slung over my shoulder, wearing a long-sleeved T-shirt, reading "Property of Vulcraft Texas" (my employer 5 years back.)  It was likely that reference to a Bible Belt state that roused her suspicion.   

I'd stopped in front of a "little free library" . . . one of those tastefully done over-sized birdhouses stuffed with second-hand books for anyone who's interested to take from and deposit to.  This one happened to be stationed in front of a Unitarian Universalist Church. The lady who popped out of a side door and hurried up the sloping sidewalk toward me, quickly introduced herself as the minister and welcomed me to the library.  
After exchanging pleasantries, she seemed satisfied that I was not the notorious neighborhood evangelist, and proceeded to explain that she has been keeping an eye on the library from inside the building because someone has been trying to "Christianize" the book supply.  She made sure I understood that, as Universalists, they draw from "the wisdom of all religions."
"Christianity would have a place, then . . . right?"  I asked.  
"well. . . yes," she stammered, "but nobody is leaving any Buddhist books." 
"I see.  You're lookin' for more diversity."  
She quickly changed the subject, telling me about how a member of her church, who happens to be a Boeing engineer, designed that particularly snazzy unit.  It is pretty impressive.  We parted ways.  

After reading up on the minister here, I get the sense that she wouldn't mind Rob Bell so much, but that John Piper might get her frothing at the mouth.  Damn evangelicals, dogmatizing the book supply!


It would be fascinating to hear a Universalist leader explain their method of picking and choosing from a plethora of religions, most of which are collectives sourcing intrinsic value from a strong sense of exclusivity.  I suppose that believing in a cocktail mixer of principles and commonly held benign moral themes gleaned from multiple faiths, while maintaining that strict adherents of those faiths aren't bright enough to realize the overarching truth, would provide a very similar individualistic sense of relevance, or at least one of moral and intellectual supremacy.

If I ever feel like picking her brain further, I guess I could get my hands on an old-school Strong's Concordance, a few marked down titles by Mark Driscoll, and some Vaseline, and see if I can't get it all into the little "free" library censored by a universalist minister.