The other day, the UUA President, the Rev. Peter Morales and the President / CEO of the UU Women's Federation, the Rev. Marti Keller released a statement on the anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision. Go read it; there is not a single word in this statement I disagree with.
However, I wonder to whom it is written. It reads as though it is written to be read by Unitarian Universalists who are checking up on the UUA to make sure that it is properly focused on this issue. It reads as though it is written to be read by people who are our coalition partners who want to understand the fullness of our position as they work with us.
What I would like to see us say is something like this:
To all people, especially young people, especially young women:
You have the right to have the children you want to have, and to not to have children you don't want to have, You have the right to raise your children in safe and healthy environments, and you have the right to express your sexuality without oppression.
These rights are the cornerstones of reproductive justice, and every person, including you, should have them. They are human rights. They are bigger than just the right to choose an abortion if you are pregnant; you have a right to get appropriate health care, to receive complete and accurate information about sexuality, to express yourself sexually without coercion, violence and exploitation.
Unitarian Universalists have been fighting for your right to reproductive justice for all people for decades. Today is the 40th anniversary of the Supreme Court decision that upheld your right to choose an abortion. We celebrate that victory. We were fighting for reproductive justice before then, and have been ever since, and will continue to åas long as it needed.
If we are going to make a statement, we should make it to the people we are working for, and we should make it so it can be understood.
Let's just stipulate that the future of Unitarian Universalism will be in non-congregational settings. The future of liberal religion is post-congregational, or "Beyond Congregations."
But congregations are the source of ministerial authority.
In days of yore, congregations themselves ordained ministers; now ministerial authority is bestowed by the fellowshipping process. In practical terms, the Ministerial Fellowship Committee says who is a recognized and legitimate UU minister. But by what authority? By the authority granted to it as a body of the Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations. In theory, congregations have created a common system for doing what they each used to do on their own.
Our congregationally based system of conferring authority will be called upon to credential lots of ministers for post-congregational settings. It does that now, (community ministers), but awkwardly, and in small numbers. A system that is designed to produce and evaluate…
Voicing the suspicion that the Independent Affiliate disaffiliation has actually been an institutional and administrative dodge to the question of polyamory and the UUPA has, as could be expected, kicked off a discussion of the same subject on this blog. So be it.
Some of where I am coming from.
1. Monogamy has been the norm in this culture for a long time. It is a restraint in that it does not come easily to everyone. It chafes. It calls for self-discipline. 2. Other cultures practice various forms of polygamy, and that is usually to the detriment of women. How this works out in the new global culture coming is anyone's guess. 3. There has been, also, a bohemian rebellion against monogamy among the more privileged sets for quite a while under a variety of names: free love, open marriage, and now "polyamory". Polyamory is a neologism -- a new and made up word which carries within itself a loaded message. Who is against more and many loves? The question is not how …
Think about the typical successful Protestant church in the late 1940’s and 1950’s. That church has a healthy membership by our standards. The minister is a white male, and he has a study. That minister has a secretary, a real secretary, not an church administrator, and she manages the great man’s schedule, and even types his letters, answers the church phone. But the rest of that church staff is, by our standard, quite small. Because that church doesn’t actually do very much. Weekdays, the small staff is around during the daytime, but on many nights, the building is empty. There are not a lot of small groups, support groups, or book clubs. The Sunday School program is, by our standards, rudimentary — just simple indoctrination into the faith.
Protestant churches in the 40’s and 50’s were about the Sunday service; and the Sunday service was about the sermon; and the mission of the church was to spread its particular message. The message was some variation of the Christian doctrine. Su…
Three historical developments re-shaped the Unitarian and Universalist churches of the 1940's and 1950's.
One: the Cold War.
As part of the Cold War, powerful business and political leaders sought to “Christianize” the United States of America — as an ideological counter to Godless Communism.
Kevin Kruse, a professor of History at Princeton, has written a very interesting book, called “Under God” and it is the story of how powerful forces in the USA sought to promote religiosity and public piety in the late 40’s and 50’s.
Here are some highlights of that effort: in the early 1950’s, the phrase “One Nation Under God” was added to the Pledge of Allegiance, and “In God We Trust” was inscribed on our currency. Political and Business leaders met in well-publicized prayer breakfasts, not only at the national level, but in every major city. The National Advertising Council ran radio, TV and billboards urging everyone to attend a worship service at the house of worship of their choice…
Theology (“words about God”) is a conversation across centuries about what is most important in human life. For most of history, the nature of God was considered to be of supreme importance. After all, if human life was created and controlled by such a higher power, understanding the character and purpose of that power would be crucial.
However, in the 19th Century, the proposition that such a higher power does not actually exist became part of the theological discussion. When the idea of God no longer exists, the theological question becomes “what is most important, now”?
Theological discourse develops in relationship to itself, as theologians try to harmonize theological propositions which appear to be in contradiction to each other. For example, if God creates everything and is good, where does evil come from? Therefore, because theology is forced to harmonize numerous contradictory realities, theology builds toward synthesis, toward systematic theology.