Thursday, July 09, 2009

Frank Talk 2

Philocrites in the comments offers the kind of concrete analysis of the powers that are at play within the UUAoC.

I am looking for some frank talk because I see that two stories out there about how the UUAoC is governed. One is the story that says that there is some shadowy group of others who actually run things while the story-teller is not powerful. The other is a Kum-Ba-Yah theory that emphasizes that everyone involved, no matter their position in the structure and their thinking, is a good person trying their very best and deserves our emotional support.

Somewhere in between there is a concrete analysis over who has power over what and why, and who wants some of that power to achieve different purposes and ends.

I would like some frank talk about some of these issues:

1. who controls our public presentation of ourselves as a national religious body? Ministers are frequently not on board with the themes and contents of our advertising campaigns, which pretty much guarantees that they will not coordinated with what people are hearing in the pews. The "standing on the side of love" is better -- how did that come about?

2. who sets the priorities for our growth strategy? I think that one murky issue in the last campaign was the Pathways experiment, which revealed all sorts of rivalries and resentments among churches over money -- national level investment in growth.

Who's got some other issues that need some frank talk and real analysis?

4 comments:

KJR said...

I think the President and staff set UUA priorities --- with the main limitation being finding donors willing to fund the priorities. There used to be a network of "Old Boys", but with the changes in our ministry (the entry of women, shorter ministry careers, new male ministers frequently promoted to large churches, the decreasing deference to "experience", the huge increase in numbers of clergy) this "senior minister/large church minister" group seems far less influential. This is something of a loss, I think, despite some obvious drawbacks of old boys. (it would nice to have old girls and others included) The loss comes in the lack of grounding in diverse congregational experience. Only one of our last four presidents would have qualified for the parish experience necessary to have been an "old Boy".

Chalicechick said...

I am very skeptical of any theory that involves a shadowy cabal running things, and not just because of the persistent rumor that said shadowy cabal had anointed Laurel Hallman, though that didn't help my opinion.

CC

Robin Edgar said...

Well it certainly didn't help Rev. Dr. Laurel Hallman to get elected as UUA President did it? OTOH As someone who has personally witnessed the workings of a shadowy cabal of intolerant "fundamentalist atheists" at the congregational level I am not convinced that there aren't a small handful of shadowy cabals, possibly even rival ones. . . within the UUA administration itself, to say nothing of the probability that good number of shadowy cabals of various kinds running any number of U*U churches throughout the U*U World. U*U politics are nothing if not incestuous. . .

Robin Edgar said...

"Who's got some other issues that need some frank talk and real analysis?"

The anti-Christian and more broadly anti-religious intolerance an bigotry of the "fundamentalist atheist" subset of Humanist U*Us that apparently is still making any number of U*U Welcoming Congregations anything but genuinely welcoming to liberal Christians and other theists. I consider this to be a major problem of Unitarian*Universalism that contributes not only to U*Uism being a "tiny, declining, fringe religion" today but also contributes to the lack of racial diversity within the UUA. At least one respected Humanist U*U minister has publicly validated that serious concern of mine, and I once again sincerely thank her for having the integrity and courage to do so. This "major problem" of the U*U World must be responsibly addressed and effectively dealt with if U*Us want to have any hope of becoming "the religion for our time."

Similarly you might want to address the anti-Republican and anti-conservative intolerance that may well be even more prevalent in U*U churches than anti-religious intolerance.

I could also address the UUA's ongoing failure to deal responsibly with ALL forms of clergy misconduct, along with its failure to provide any real restorative justice for all past victims of clergy misconduct.

Then there's that Code of Silence written into the UUMA Guidelines that you might want to say a thing or two about. . . There is no question that it contributes to transgressive U*U clergy getting away with whatever "murder" they committed. . .