Mismatches between Unitarian Universalism and the Work It Needs to Do.
- We have buildings, many beautiful buildings; but modern communications make place irrelevant.
- We are skilled in written words; but the world now communicates in image and music.
- We have spirituality embedded in a long and glorious religious tradition; and much of the world wants spirituality but actively and consciously rejects religious tradition.
- We have an expensive membership-based business model; the people have declining standards of living. The membership of the local congregation shares the expenses of the congregation where costs are rising. The membership, for the most part, is not seeing equivalent income growth.
- Our finances are first dedicated to existing local institutions which are unsustainable at our membership level; but where we need to invest is in new institutions and ministries. Our primary form of support is pledges to local congregations, which are caught in a financial squeeze. Less to give denominational bodies, too little for innovative new ministries.
- We have and require a learned ministry; but wisdom is no longer associated with educational attainment, but with authenticity: real experience passed through the fire of thought.
- Our expectations of religious professionals, especially parish ministers, are unrealistic. We expect high quality worship leadership, executive leadership of the institution, and significant attention to the pastoral needs of the congregation.
- We are led by and culturally defined by baby boomers; the people now making religious choices for their lives are later generations. (most Boomers have made their choice already.)
- Our shared default ways of doing and being are monocultural in a multicultural world.
From my keynote presentation at the Metro NY District Conference: The Dawning Future. Held at UU Congregation of Shelter Rock on November 14, 2015.