I’ve been reading Jerome Stone’s Religious Naturalism Today, and through it I’ve gotten even more interested in theologian Bernard Loomer. Loomer is the theologian who probably introduced Unitarian Universalists to the web of life as a theological concept. But Jerry also points out that Loomer helped originate another concept that has proved invaluable in liberal religious social justice work:
[In 1976] Loomer also wrote a seminal article on the distinction between unilateral and relational power, which may be the first statement of the distinction between power-over and power-with…. [Religious Naturalism Today, p. 96.]
Jerry’s referring to “Two Conceptions of Power” by Loomer, published in Process Studies 6:5-32, 1976. I’m going to have to add that to my Loomer reading list, which already includes Unfoldings, two booklets of transcriptions of talks Loomer gave at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Berkeley, and The Size of God, the long essay that revived religious naturalism when it was published in 1987.
By working through these relatively short works by Loomer, it looks like I can (1) gain a richer understanding of “web of life” as a theological and ethical concept; (2) take another look at a key ethical distinction around use of power; and (3) work through a key statement of religious naturalism that uses the concept of God without going beyond the world of nature. All this for less that 200 pages of reading!