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A Chosen Faith: An Introduction to Unitarian Universalism Paperback


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A Chosen Faith: An Introduction to Unitarian Universalism + The Unitarian Universalist Pocket Guide, 5th Edition + Unitarian Universalism: A Narrative History
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 221 pages
  • Publisher: Beacon Press; Revised edition (June 1, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0807016179
  • ISBN-13: 978-0807016176
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 5.1 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (43 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #52,962 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

A Chosen Faith: An Introduction to Unitarian Universalism, by John A. Buehrens and Forrest Church, is hard to describe. The book is a history of the denomination, with lively passages depicting the lives and ministries of important Unitarian-Universalist leaders such as Ralph Waldo Emerson and William Ellery Channing. Yet it is also a collection of testimonies by contemporary laypeople and ministers, who describe their churches' responses to questions ranging from "How do I know when to get married?" to "How should the government treat single mothers?" The funny and wise introduction was written by Robert Fulghum, who indulges the often invoked criticism that Unitarian Universalism's ideals are interchangeable with those of PBS. And, finally, it contains some straightforward explications of the denomination's core principles. The Church's aversion to creeds will be off-putting to some readers--at times, it seems Unitarian Universalists believe in nothing so much as not committing to any one belief. But there's something universally refreshing about this protean faith: most religious people, at one time or another, find that God leads them to reject some tenets of their religion. Unitarian Universalists have a true genius for accepting God's most surprising Words, which makes A Chosen Faith a valuable resource for all of us. --Michael Joseph Gross --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

Buehrens, president of the Unitarian Universalist Association, and Church, senior minister of the Unitarian Church of All Souls in New York City, present a summary of what it means to be a Unitarian Universalist today. In a new foreword and a new preface prepared for this edition, bestselling author Robert Fulghum, a Unitarian Universalist minister, and Denise Davidoff, a Jewish convert to Unitarian Universalism, add their personal observations. Buehrens and Church cover the history of Unitarian Universalism, whose origins they trace to the Council of Nicea in A.D. 325. The authors also find precursors of Unitarian Universalism during the 16th-century Protestant Reformation, and they find the first mention of "Unitarianism" in England in 1654. The book is an informative look at what they call a "choice in religious living," which they describe as affirming diversity, dialogue, personal choice, and work for social justice.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Material applies to anyone of spirituality, regardless of personal beliefs.
Fair and balanced critic
This is a very Good overview on UU Views and History i learned a lot from this book i recommend it to anyone who wants to learn about Unitarian Universalism.
James H.
You will find some UU members who are very comfortable with "religious language" while others recoil at any mention of God.
David

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

101 of 103 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 19, 2000
Format: Paperback
I have been attending a Unitarian Universalist church for about a year. I was drawn to the church because of its openness. Unfortunately, the Unitarians are so fearful of evangelism that they almost refrain from giving newcomers any information about their faith in great detail. This book scratched the surface and then some. "A Chosen Faith" explains that two religious movements joined to created what is now the Unitarian Universalist movement. Now that I've read the book, I understand why Christians, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Taoists, Pagans, Atheists and Agnostics all come together in UU fellowships. But more than that, the book attempts to explain what kind of theology can support such diversity under one tent. UUs have, I believe, a lot to say about how religious pluralism can be healthy and positive for our culture.
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109 of 113 people found the following review helpful By David on December 29, 2005
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is what its title says it is: an introduction to Unitarian Universalism. It combines a brief history of the denomination (which, in one respect, goes back centuries, but in another goes back to the 1961 merger of the Unitarian and Universalist denominations, whereupon the Unitarian Universalist Association ceased to be a "liberal Christian" denomination and became the "non-creedal religion" it is today) with an overview of UU principles, mixed with the author's personal reminiscences.

Unitarian Universalism is a tough religion to categorize or summarize. For those used to faiths where you are given a creed to follow and answers to life's deep questions, it can be difficult to understand the appeal of a religion that gives you questions rather than answers. There are no "authoritative" answers within the church regarding the existence of God or the nature of souls and the afterlife or why good people suffer, so the author of this book can only give his personal opinion without presuming to speak for Unitarian Universalism in general.

If you want to know more about Unitarian Universalism in general, this is a good book to start with. If you are wondering whether Unitarian Universalism might be the "right" religion for you, then you won't find the answer to that in this or any book. You need to attend a UU church and talk to the members of the congregation and see if it's a good "fit" for you. And be aware that no two UU congregations are the same -- some are heavily theistic, with a lot of spiritual/religious overtones (though none explicitly endorse or require members to believe in a deity), while others are much more "humanist." Some UU congregations are even explicitly pagan/"Earth-centered" in nature, though these are rare.
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98 of 102 people found the following review helpful By clare_991@hotmail.com on December 2, 1999
Format: Paperback
I am a fifteen year old UU, and this book has really helped me to understand my religion. Often when my friends ask about my religion, I have to give an inadequate answer because UU is so hard to explain in a short amount of time. I really enjoyed reading this book. It helped me a lot, even though I've been going to a UU church all my life.
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38 of 40 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 20, 1999
Format: Paperback
This book clearly explains what Unitarian Universalism is. At the same time, it is an incredibly enjoyable read. I find it inspirational and insightful. I recommend this book to anyone looking for an open-minded faith that emphasizes service and the search for Truth instead of dogma.
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38 of 41 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 17, 2002
Format: Paperback
For about ten years now I have struggled to find my spiritual niche. I was brought up Methodist Christian and never felt comfortable about my faith, that is until I read this book. The beliefs and practices of the Unitarian Church completely coincide with mine and many other family members and friends of mine. After reading this book I am now very optimistic about having a spiritually fulfilling life.
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153 of 183 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 15, 2004
Format: Paperback
Revs. Buehrens and Church unquestionably have the institutional credentials to write an introduction to Unitarian Universalism. Nonetheless, I think this book is a travesty. To my eyes, it is full to overflowing with unfair and offensive attacks (which are in fact heavily contrary to the message of Unitarian Universalism) upon atheists, humanists and other skeptics whose belief systems do not toe the theological line drawn by the authors. There is nary a kind word about atheists in this book.
Five years ago, as a non-believer interested in Unitarian Universalism, "A Chosen Faith" was my first written introduction to the religion. The book taught me, among many other things, that my religious perspective was actually a "demonic pseudoreligion"; that UUs agreed with C.S. Lewis that "the opposite of belief in God is not a belief in nothing; it is a belief in anything"; that I was a spiritual "vacuum"; and that raising children without religion means ushering them into fundamentalist cults. In short, the book taught me that Unitarian Universalists would find me and my (non-) beliefs disgusting. This is the message secular people of many stripes will take away from "A Chosen Faith"--but it is far, far from the truth about UUism.
I am now a Unitarian Universalist, very much despite having read this book. My journey into the religion has consisted in large part of understanding (because I've been convinced by wonderful UUs, many of them Christians, pagans, theists, deists...) that Buehrens and Church are flat wrong about the place of atheism, humanism and skepticism within Unitarian Universalism.
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