Great Awakenings!

First off, I am glad to see someone else who believes that we are in the middle of another Great Awakening.

For those of you unfamiliar with the term, "Great Awakening" refers to historic periods of dramatic religious revival.

The first Great Awakening gave rise to the Congregationalists, our forebears. It was a time of scary Calvinist preaching, like Jonathan Edward's "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God." But it was also a time of great equalizing in religion, where people, especially the working class, felt empowered.

Unitarianism in the U.S. arose at the height of the second Great Awakening. (Which was followed by Mormonism, and eventually Jehovah's Witnesses and Seventh Day Adventists.) The second Great Awakening was also the time of Charles Grandison Finney, who is considered by many to be the "Grandfather of Evangelical Christianity." By that, they mean the firey preaching style and "conversion" experiences, not the conservatism. Finney was a social progressive, working for the rights of the poor, women, and the abolition of slavery.

The third Great Awakening (when the Christian Scientists were born) was the period of the Social Gospel, again a time when Christians believed that their duty was to address social problems such as poverty, not just tend to personal/individual salvation in an after-life.

Some people say that the surge of conservative Evangelical and Fundamentalist Christianity, ala Falwell, is the fourth Great Awakening. I like to think it was the Great Falling Asleep. But I do feel (hope?) that we are now in the middle of a Great Awakening, where people are remembering their social obligations to each other. I feel it in what seems (anecdotally at least) to be the resurgence of interest in spirituality and social activism among young adults. UU is growing. And within Evangelical Christianity, a new generation that supports causes like the environment and economic justice is taking over.

Which brings me back to the link above: Revolution in Jesusland. Don't be put off by all the Jesus-talk. These guys are on our side. Honest!

I am adding the Litany of Resistance to wizdUUm's collection of prayers.

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Acknowledgments is made possible in part by generous support from the Fahs Collaborative