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Showing posts from February, 2015

A New Fellowship Movement (by Cindy Landrum)

During my time in ministry, I've seen a few congregation-growing initiatives from our association.  I was a minister in the Extension Ministry program, which partially-funded ministry in select small congregations in an attempt to get them to grow.  There was the large-church start-up that the UUA attempted in the Dallas area.  Now we have multi-site, which I am a big fan of, and hope it works.  But arguably the greatest of such programs was the Fellowship Movement from 1948-1967, which started hundreds of congregations.  About 30% (323 in 2008) of our current UU congregations started in the Fellowship Movement. 

The problems with the Fellowship Movement, if you ask ministers, was that they produced congregations that were lay-led and often hostile to ministry, and as a corollary, insular and small and resistant to growth.  They often resisted words like "worship" and "sermon" and held services that were more like lectures.  The pluses are self-evident: it cre…

More Theology?

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The Question for Which We Don't Have an Answer

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Change comes when a people face up to a question for which they don't have an answer. And "to face up" means that a people stop settling for non-answers for that question, and admit that they don't know. Then they can start to think, experiment and find their way.

To me the unanswered question is this: How do religious liberal leaders lead in this country at this time, given the scale of the task and the historical moment?

How can we change more lives? How can we change enough lives to fulfill the mandate "to bring good news to the oppressed, to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and release to the prisoners, to comfort all who mourn...to build up ancient ruins... [and] raise up the devastations of old."

My observation is that clergy anxiety about their income support system has narrowed the possible answers to the question. In effect, the question changes into "how do religious liberal leaders lead in this country by creati…

Nostalgia for Inequality

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Liberal religion is committed to the proposition that men and women are equal, and that relationships between them should be equal partnerships. That principle has been extended to same sex couples, and even multi-partnered relationships. No matter the configuration of a relationship, we believe that everyone comes to it as a voluntary and equal partner.

There is a lot of dispute about the origins, but the ideas of the equality of the sexes is only several centuries old. The norm that sexual relationships should be voluntary, mutual, consenting, reciprocally pleasurable is quite new in human history.

Which brings us to BDSM and "50 Shades of Gray".

There is controversy as to whether the film depicts "healthy" BDSM or the abuse of a young woman. Both sides of that debate, though, accept, in principle, that sexual relationships ought to be voluntary, mutual, consenting and reciprocally pleasurable.

BDSM positions itself as a kind of sex play within the norms of sexua…

Statement from former SKSM student Edith Love

My Beloved Starr King Community,
    I am writing to you to offer a confession, and an apology. When I first came to our school, I felt like I had come to my spiritual home, a place I had longed for all my life, a place where justice, equity and compassion were among our highest ideals. Being admitted felt like a dream come true. As soon as my acceptance letter came in the mail, I pinned it to the wall by my desk. However, I found to my great dismay, that the institution was not all I had hoped. I began to hear stories from other students about negative outcomes for those who spoke out about perceived injustices within our school.      When Dr. Parker announced her retirement, I was sad, as I had great admiration for her wisdom and her gifts. As the time came to select a new president, I was encouraged and hopeful that this would be the beginning of a new era. When student leaders called for an emergency meeting, only a handful of people were able to attend on such short notice. At the m…