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Showing posts from July, 2011

Appreciating the Unitarian Universalist Theological Method

"Solidarity, Grandiosity, Reflection, Discovery"

I admit that ever since I came back to this, the religious home of my childhood, in 1989, I have been cranky about UU Theology.  After all, how deep can an agnostic theology go?  It seemed often to be a mishmash of feel-good generalizations, psychobabble and anodyne exhortations, seasoned with the spice of leftwing cant.  It resisted making any substantive link with Liberal Christian Theology, from which it has half-emerged, and so it floated free.

I have come to appreciate our methods more, now.  I am not being ironic, or sarcastic, or setting you up for a punchline. This is for real, not an extended improvisational Robin Williams riff.  I will goof around a little on the way to my serious conclusions.

Step One:  Solidarity.

Ever have the feeling that much of our theologizing is rationalizations for our already taken political and social views?  You're not crazy to think so, because that is what much of it is.  I am sayi…

Liberal Religion's Answer to Oslo

Multi-culturalism in inevitable.  The process of globalization will lead to a blurring of religious and cultural differences; there are both melting pots and mosaics in our future.  Liberal Religion thinks that this a good thing; we welcome it as a frequently liberating process.  The future is secular governments, pluralistic culture, religious diversity, free religious organizations and the rights of private conscience and we think that it will be great.

There are people in the world who fear the future and some who will try to violently derail it.  While they pose a very real and concrete danger to the future of liberal society, they are fighting a losing battle.  But history tells us people trying to stop progress can be unspeakably cruel and violent.  We recognize this danger.  We call upon the state to keep a watchful eye on reactionary and racist groups and to vigorously enforce the law.

We call upon all people to be vigilant against any form of racism, national chauvinism and …

The Hot Mess

I think Scott Wells named it first:  2012 Justice GA in Phoenix was going to be a Hot Mess.  Hot because it is Arizona and a Mess because it is where UU earnestness, idealism, entitlement and impracticality will meet in a glorious disorganized failure under the unforgiving sun.  Instead of Selma with Sand, it will be Altamont.

It's always useful to remember that the future hasn't happened yet.

Rev. Nate Walker of Philadelphia said in a sermon that one of the roles of the church, including the liberal church was "to set the moral agenda."  He said this in a sermon about vegetarianism that I found, ummm, challenging, but his point applies.

By going to Phoenix, we are trying to rewrite the nation's moral agenda.

Immigration has been viewed by most as a labor policy issue, or a budgetary issue, or national integrity issue.   Do immigrants, documented or undocumented, distort the labor market in the US, "take our jobs"?  Are immigrants attracted by more gene…

Sermonating and Social Media

Phillip Lund, Cynthia Landrum, Scott Wells and Dan Harper have been discussing sermons and social media.  Their general consensus is that the 20 minute sermon encased in the church worship service puts the message in a form-factor that is both obsolete and too individual in its creation.

I disagree that there is a problem with the individual creation of the sermon.  Sermons are not really individually created -- ministers have their circle of people that they use for coming up with and testing ideas that go into the sermon.   Whether people do that over the dinner table, at a meeting, at a coffee shop or on social media of some sort doesn't change the fact that in the end a good sermon comes from many people but no good sermon is written by committee.

Now, the other point, the terrible mismatch with the way that we now expect to receive information and the customary church service, I think deserves some deep consideration.

In social media, content rules.  Somebody has to keep pu…