Short Takes on Congregations and Cultural Transformation
There are people out there right now at work at transforming our culture. They are working for and living toward a culture of where liberal values (like openness, and solidarity, and self-determination and generosity) are normative.
The challenge for Unitarian Universalism is how we, as a whole body, make a connection with those emerging forces of cultural transformation? How do we connect with the young people of color, like the Dream Defenders? How do we connect to movements of low wage workers in the fast food industry? How do we speak to the educated young people in the families in our own congregations who are burdened with debt and confronted by closing doors? How do we connect to young artists and musicians?
We don't need to start, run, or control a movement for cultural transformation; multiple movements are gathering strength. We just want to be a part of it, because it has been our goal and dream for most of our lives.
The plain truth is that it is not a choice between growing healthy congregations OR participating in broader movements for cultural transformation. Either we do both, or we do neither.
At some point, Unitarian Universalists made a conscious decision that we would connect to, and participate in the movement of GLBTQ people. To many, it seemed like a diversion from the true work of the church. I heard people refer to it as 'the cause du jour'. However, it did change us by bringing us into contact with lots of people who never would have come near us, had we not made a public commitment first.
But this is where we have to first break with our "Stuck in the Eighties" mentality, which says that social movements are always the hobbies of marginal, overly-earnest wackos who should be ignored.