May 13th, 2008

Truman

James Fowler and Unitarian Universalism

The following is text I drafted for a post I was thinking of posting on my UU church’s online discussion forum:
In UU circles in recent months, there appears to have been an explosion in interest in the work of Methodist minister and Christian theologian Rev. James Fowler--specifically, his theory of faith development, which he first stated in his 1981 book, Stages of Faith. If a Google results page (say, this one) is any indication, Fowler’s theory is extremely “hot” within UUism right now. I know it’s led me to read Stages.

Given the content of Fowler’s system, though, his popularity in our circles frightens me. In his book, and in the many articles he has written since, Fowler forthrightly declares some religious perspectives (including some that are common in UUism) to be inherently superior than others (including some that are common in UUism!), and his treatment of people who are in insufficiently “developed” stages of faith is consistently disrespectful and insulting.Read more...Collapse )