Wednesday, May 30, 2007

The hidden cause

It is my belief that the hidden cause of the anxiety-provoking weakness of the UUA is simple. We are a religious organization that marginalizes and disempowers its religious professionals in the leadership of its affairs, especially its most successful ministers.

  • We hold our annual convention at the time of the year when our ministers are least ready to exert any leadership.
  • This year we are inviting our congregational leaders to come and learn together at UU University, at a time which competes with minister's meetings.
  • Our national leaders understand that national leadership positions are not possible for successful parish ministers.
  • We think that communicating with the larger culture is "marketing" and we hire marketing consultants to do it. Communicating to the larger culture is "sharing our gospel" and it is a religious/theological/evangelical task. Did Jesus hire a marketing consultant to come up with "The Kingdom of God is at Hand."?
  • Much of the conflict over "congregational polity" is, in my opinion, a shadow conflict between the national staff and the parish ministers.

No wonder that we are "The Lowest Common Denomination." (snark)

My suspicion is that the culling of the IA herd is an attempt to minimize the distractions that keep the association from doing the work that it needs to do to fashion the liberal religious message and ministry to this culture at this time. But that work is first and foremost the work of our parish ministers, who have to preach such a message every week. Empowering them to do that work of clarifying our message and ministry at the association level is the necessary step.


Anonymous said...


this is astute...start here as a case study at your UUMA workshop?

Christine Robinson said...

very interesting point you make. Perhaps yet another example of the eternal power struggle between ministry and laity...

Chalicechick said...

(((Did Jesus hire a marketing consultant to come up with "The Kingdom of God is at Hand."?)))

I would say that depends on how tightly we are defining "Marketing consultant."

fausto said...

Did Jesus hire a marketing consultant to come up with "The Kingdom of God is at Hand."?

I suppose that depends how you describe his relationship to John the Baptist...

ogre said...

Marketing Consultant?

Is that a step up from publican?