Thursday, July 16, 2009
Can't have it both ways.
On the one hand, it is widely agreed that the Unitarian Universalist Association has not, in its 40 years of existence, lived up to the potential of liberal religion in this country. We believe that there are at least a million people out there whose religious views are in sympathy with ours, but as a collective body, we cannot manage to put a welcoming, inspiring, inviting, culturally appropriate center of liberal religion into their path. We are an underperforming organization.
On the other hand, efforts to actually change one or more feature of the organization runs into a solid wall of "if it's not broke, don't fix it!". Our governance is fine the way it is. (But our inability to perform well stems from our governance !) The main definitional statement of who we are is fine the way it is (it has not communicated effectively for sustained growth for 15 years now !).
This dichotomy (we are great; everything we do is the very best that we can do vs. we are small, failing, repelling people as fast as we are attracting them, demographically isolated.) is a sign of defensiveness and anxiety.
We need to change what we are doing if we want a different result. And we need a different result because we are not fulfilling what we know that we are capable of. And that means being open to different ideas about how to do things. Really, suggesting a different way of electing our President on a blog is not quite taking an axe to the foundations of our faith.