UU ministers have very little positional authority: authority that comes to them simply because they are the minister. What authority a particular UU minister will have will come to them through the relationships they have built with congregants over time, usually through pastoral care. It takes years, in many cases, for ministers to accrue much authority.
Therefore, for a long, long time, UU parish ministers are working to develop authority in the
As ministries get shorter, more of our ministers never develop enough authority in the congregation to really go out on a limb. Most never get the authority to turn their attention from the congregation to be an inspirational voice in the community, as A Powell Davies was in Washington DC.
It's a cycle which helps no one. To the extent that the urge to people please is visible in the minister, it undermines their authority. Yet people pleasing seems to be the only way to gain authority.
Our ministers could be a thousand or more clear voices ringing out for a new spirit in these nations of North America. They could be inspiring and empowering tens of thousands of more voices, and moving hundreds of thousands of hearts toward reverence, openness, solidarity, self-possession. We need to stop stifling ourselves, and that starts by encouraging our ministers to be brave and confident.