Changing yourself is part of changing the world. Some schools of meditation believe that if a certain percentage of people in a city meditate regularly, social peace and harmony will result. A Jewish legend is that if every Jew upheld every law of the Torah for even one day, the Messiah would come. Not far from this, is the prophecy of some Christians that once sufficient number of people have been converted, Christ will come again and heaven on earth will result. Others simply believe that if more people did what Jesus would do, the world would be more fair and equitable. We UU's believe quite firmly, if inarticulately, that if more people were open-minded and justice-minded, there could be a cultural transformation toward the good. We 'stand on the side of love' because we believe that 'justice is love enacted in public.'
Personal transformation and social transformation come together in this middle level of the church, or the congregation. The congregation is the supportive and encouraging community for personal transformation. It's where we learn the wisdom of our traditions. It is the place where we practice love and concern for each other, both for the benefit of the helped and the growth of the helper. It is also where we organize our power to make the change that we trying to be become manifest in the world.
So, there are three levels of the religious life: the personal, the social and the organizational. Not everyone cares about all three equally at all stages of life. That's OK.
Contemporary Unitarian Universalism is overly invested in the organizational level. We tend to make the sum total of Unitarian Universalism joining and being active in the local congregation. Certainly, the care and feeding of our local congregations is where the vast majority of energy and resources go. We ruefully admit that people come to our churches looking for spiritual growth and we put them on a committee. Our national structure is that we are "an Association of Congregations" and we are vigilant that the HQ serves the local and the not the other way around.
Terasa Cooley is right in saying the we are tending toward an idolatry toward the congregation, viewing them as an end and not a means. Them's fighting words in a religious context, but isn't always true that organizational forms are secondary to missions and purpose?