For me, it comes down to our need (both as individuals and as a denomination) for a little more Piety. Piety, that love of God or if you prefer, the Universal, the Higher Power-in short whatever we find greater than ourselves...) is often thought of in conjunction with self flagellating ascetics of one stripe or another. It need not be so.
Reading Peacebang yesterday, I was reminded of Henry Adams' take on the Unitarian establishment in the Boston of his day. "Nothing," he wrote in his 'Education', "quieted doubt so completely as the mental calm of the Unitarian clergy. In uniform excellence of life and character, moral and intellectual, the score of Unitarian clergymen about Boston, who controlled society and Harvard College, were never excelled. They proclaimed as their merit that they insisted on no doctrine, but taught, or tried to teach, the means of leading a virtuous, useful, unselfish life, which they held to be sufficient for salvation. For them, difficulties might be ignored; doubts were waste of thought; nothing exacted solution. Boston had solved the universe; or had offered and realized the best solution yet tried. The problem was worked out."
Of course there is some justice in this rather backhanded compliment, but what he does not report is the element of piety so important to the understanding of the Boston Unitarians. I have long wanted to write about Unitarian piety-its practical, quiet, yet deep reverence. Maybe someday...for now, I plan a series of posts on Unitarian Piety from Channing to Parker (Parker wrote much about piety and it is fascinating work)