Friday, October 22, 2010

Why Heresy Saved Me

I'm being ironic, obviously, although what began as a dig at an Anglican bishop who threw some Unitarians out of his cathedral acquired greater meaning as I got deeper in to the book - that the modern heresy was declining to play the God/ no God game; how I arrived at this point by having my assumptions about the world gradually (and sometimes violently) removed; how Unitarianism helps provide the space for us to be who we are meant to be.

If this sounds a bit heavy, well I promise Heresy is not. Indeed, I specifically set out to write a book about spirituality that has a sense of humour (and actually as I was using myself as the source material, I found plenty to laugh at), one that would do for contemporary faith what I've tried to do most of my career (with varying degrees of success, admittedly) for other tricky issues - make it accessible, refreshing, inspiring.

I thought - wouldn't it be great for that UU kid in Manchester/ Minnesota to have something s/he can enjoy alongside the Twilight series, Chomsky and the Collected Works of Marilyn Manson; a slim volume they can read on the National Express/ Greyhound between home and college, that they wouldn't be ashamed to be seen with, even recommend... Nietzsche recently tweeted (who would have believed it!) Profundity of thought belongs to youth, clarity of thought to old age. By declining to focus solely upon an audience of middle-aged farts like myself, I hoped to produce a book about spirituality that would have fresh appeal to young and old, UUs and non-UUs, and yes, even middle-aged farts like myself.

The craziest thing is it is not Unitarianism that truly inspired me, rather its absence: when I regularly attended church I had no notion or inclination to write. It was only after we moved to Italy - a true Unitarian wasteland - that I came to miss my community so much I felt compelled to fill the hole the only way I truly knew how, with words. And that's finally what the book is - a kind of letter home.

Heresy Saved Me is now available on Amazon or through the website.

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