There has been a lot of discussion about the nature and character of Unitarian Universalism recently, including our theology (does it need help?), numbers, and so on. Rev. Manish Mishra has this to say in the recent edition of the Journal of Liberal Religion, entitled Developmentally Challenged: Understanding Unitarian Universalism’s Lack of Mass Appeal:
Link: Journal of Liberal Religion.
Unitarian Universalists (UUs) are frequently heard mulling over the question of why our religious denomination continues to be so small. While the rate of growth of Unitarian Universalism has been respectful over the past decade, even outpacing the rate of growth of more mainstream denominations, relative to the size of the U.S. population Unitarian Universalism, with its approximately 220,000 adherents,1 struggles with attracting the type of numerical following that it has aspired to. Folk-wisdom about the reasons for this lack of mass appeal abound within the denomination: “we haven’t done enough in getting our message out,” “our growth strategies have been misguided and ineffectual,” or “our form of religion requires too much work, it isn’t for everybody.” This last possibility may contain a kernel of truth. It is, indeed, possible that Unitarian Universalism isn’t for everybody, and there perhaps might be very good reasons why that is the case. Robert Kegan’s theory of human development and James Fowler’s theory of faith development may help shed light on this possibility