Monday, November 17, 2014

What I Want in A UUA President Part 2

I said this elsewhere, but I want to get it here.

I want a UUA President who will say forthrightly that she (presuming a younger, female UUA President) is unable to fix the problems of the local congregation.

Mostly our local congregations need money and members, and the UUA is not going to be able to supply them.  Yes, some need advice and training about  church governance, membership policies, and creating spiritual development programs. The UUA staff does a good job at providing these, and there are lots of other sources for that information.

And I agree that the UUA should provide more administrative support for local congregations through a centralized service bureau for fees, and the UUA President should be committed to making that come about.

That said, I don't the UUA President is the key to success in those efforts.

I also don't think that the UUA President will ever be a source of theological clarity. Theological clarity will arise through the common discussion of UU thinkers, writers, ministers, lay people and even humble bloggers. It will be a long slow messy process. So the many UU's who believe that we will not succeed until we "have a theology" will not have that issue settled in the UUA Presidential election.

The Presidency of the UUA is the supreme #thanklesstask.

What the UUA President can do provide religious leadership: indicate to people what is most important in life and living, what is of ultimate concern.

UU's believe that living ethical, moral, virtuous lives is the most important thing that a person can do. We also believe that ethics, morals and virtues have particular meaning in the world as we now understand it. We use to call it "salvation by character" -- not that we had good character and others did not, but that developing the habit of doing the right thing was our best hope.

We are called to live ethical, moral and virtuous lives in a world that is divided by oppression and privilege, where the material necessities of life are distributed unfairly, where the basic humanity of most of the planet's people is ignored, and where the basic life support systems of the planet are being willfully destroyed for short term profit.

Those that have power today are proceeding on a path that will result in the premature death of much of the planet and its people. The powerful are counting on the fact that they, their families, and their class will survive nonetheless.

Their vision is the very opposite of universal salvation.

What I want from the UUA President is leadership: a skilled effort at persuading by deed and word what is important and what is necessary to do now. I want to see the UU President preach universal salvation in today's context. Our nation needs visionary leaders and progressive religion is one of the few places where that leadership can grow.


1 comment:

Joel Miller said...

I've been waiting to hear this, Tom. Please let us have a strong President with a vision so profound we find ourselves deeply encouraged and willing to risk everything for this beautiful world.

Joel Miller