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Showing posts from June, 2012

Honest Class Talk

Discussions of the economy in the present climate hide more than they communicate.  There is a whole vocabulary of terms that disguise the reality that different economic classes have different interests.

Take the term "job creators" which is favored term of the conservative politicians to talk about the wealthy.  The words suggest that the role and function of the wealthy is think of ways to hire people and create jobs for the rest of us.  Creating a job for a person is the last thing the wealthy want to do.  If something needs to be done, the first choice is a machine, the second choice is to buy a service from someone on a transaction basis, the third is a temporary, low-wage hire and finally, if there is no other way, creating a good job at a good wage and benefits for someone.

And even this is an old-fashioned way to think about the role of the wealthy in job creation.

People talk as though the wealthy are the owners of businesses that create goods and services for cus…

Comprehensive and Fair Immigration Policy

Thanks to Angela Maria Kelley's presentation at GA, I learned some background information about the state of policy development about Immigration in the last decade.  Angela Maria Kelley is the VP for Immigration Policy at the Center for American Progress.

Everyone says that we need comprehensive and fair Immigration Reform.  Even Mitt Romney, who tries to avoid saying anything concrete about immigration says that we need a "long term solution" by which he means a "comprehensive and fair immigration reform."  Romney adds the stunning qualifier that it also be "long term."  Quick, someone specify that it be "bi-partisan" to round out the list of glittering generalities.

The thing forgotten though is that such a bill has already received majorities of both houses of Congress and had the support of the President of the United States.  It was not perfect, of course, but the Immigration Reform Bill supported by Kennedy, McCain and George W Bush w…

Occupy

I went to a workshop on the Occupy Movement here at UU Ministry Days, led by some colleagues who have been very active in New York City, Portland and elsewhere.  About 40 ministers attended, almost all of which had some level of participation in the movement.

I was surprised that my colleagues seemed to think its radical process was most important about Occupy: its ambition to be a 'leaderless' movement that worked by consensus and direct democracy.  There was talk of Occupy as a foretaste of Beloved Community.  And as has come up again and again in UU circles, there were reminders that the 1% must also be redeemed.

Bunkum.

The radical process of Occupy is an old fantasy.  We UU's know that better than any one else.  After all, we have learned the hard way that consensus based ultra-democracy is code for the covert veto power of tiny minorities.

What was radical, and  a challenge to Unitarian Universalists is the class analysis implicit in the naming of the 99%.

A class a…

UU's Living Their Mission

What explains the fact that Unitarian Universalism has not suffered the dramatic loss of membership of the mainline Protestants?  Our numbers have stayed steady, while groups like the Congregationalists, the Methodists, Lutherans have all shrunk considerably.  (Yes, I know that relative to overall population growth, staying steady is actually a loss.)

My theory, and I don't think it can be proven or disproven with the data that we have, is that Unitarian Universalism was revitalized in the 1990's and 2000's by the influx of gays, lesbians, bisexuals, transgender people, and queers.  Not just numerically, but also culturally and theologically.  And this influx followed closely after the dramatic rise in the number of female ministers. 

Neither of these events were unique to Unitarian Universalism, especially the increase in female ministers, but both proceeded with less opposition in our denomination than others.

Unitarian Universalism has had an influx of converts, many of…

Memorial Day, the Doctrine of Discovery and the Honor Code: Or "Why is there a flag on the Moon?"

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There's a Flag on the Moon.
Sermon May 27, 2012
Tom Schade

On Memorial Day, we remember those men and women, mostly men, who died in the Armed Services of the United States, fighting in the wars this country has fought. 

It is a holiday that originated after the Civil War -- beginning as a commemoration of the Union dead, but over time, those that fought on the side of the seceding States have been included in the honoring.  Time and war have added more to that number: the soldiers, sailors and marines who perished in the Spanish-American War, World War 1, World War 2, the Korean War, the War in Vietnam, the first Iraq War, the War in Afghanistan and the second Iraq War.  This is not to mention various interventions and invasions conducted throughout the history. 

So many occasions; so many names; so many losses; so much history.

There were more wars in our history:  The wars against the Indigenous peoples of North America: wars to take their territory, wars to remove their popu…

Unitarian Universalism in New England

Unitarian Universalism is sometimes called a "New England" religion.  New England is the "historic homeland", the region in which Unitarianism and Universalism started as distinct religious movements.  Proportionally a higher proportion of the overall population are UU's in New England than elsewhere.

It is also the area of the slowest growth for Unitarian Universalism; in fact, the number of UU's in New England is declining.

Consider this.  The proportion nationally of religiously unaffiliated is about 16%.  In Massachusetts, it is about 17%.  In all of the other New England states it is significantly higher, ranging from 23% in CT and RI, 25% in Maine and 26% in NH/VT.

Unitarian Universalism is not growing but shrinking as the number of religiously unaffiliated is growing.  To the religiously unaffiliated, we are not a solution, but a part of the problem.

And consider this:  as opposed to most of the rest of the country, Unitarian Universalist institutio…

Our Message to Our Community

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This weekend, there is an art fair on a street near the church. We have a table there and plan to meet people and talk about liberal religion. This is the message that we are carrying....

A Happier and Healthier Life….

It is human to want a happier and healthier life;  it is human to want to know where you fit into the Universe; it is human to want to have a purpose in your life. 

These are the big questions that religion tries to answer.  But for many, religions have too many answers and not enough room for the questions. 

So, people say that they are "spiritual, but not religious." 

Maybe that is you.

You want some room to explore the big questions.  You want a chance to live your own life and learn your own lessons.  You want find a way, your own way, to make a more just world.

If you describe yourself as "spiritual, but not religious", perhaps you are a religious liberal.   

 A religious liberal believes that all religions are human creations, ways for people to be…