Maybe it is just the shorter time period, but people have not responded as fulsomely to the second installment Why the UU Mismatches.
Which should not surprise me; my argument has been that we are out of step with our times because the forty year period of conservative cultural hegemony turned us inward, limited our growth, and froze our development. Many resist this line of analysis. As neo-Calvinists, we think that explanations of our disappointments and failures that put the blame on anyone other than our own terrible selves are somehow cheating.
We would rather see ourselves as uniquely awful, but powerful, than ordinary and not in control.
We don't make history as much as history makes us; that is a hard message for us to hear.
But the reign of conservative ideology is coming to an end. That is why our culture is so polarized; we have entered a period of deep conflict and some either/or choices are on the table.
Right now, six social movements are on the move.
- The Movement for Black Lives, the present incarnation of the Black liberation movement.
- The Movement for Reproductive Justice
- The Movement for LBGTQ Lives, especially the lives and safety of transwomen of color.
- The Immigrant Movement
- The Climate Defense Movement.
- The Movement of low-wage workers and the fight for $15.
Each movement has many fronts and facets, organizations and campaigns. And there are others, as well.
You can trace a direct line between each of these movements and the most important statement of UU public theology (the Seven Principles). People are fighting for the principles we have named as the Seven Principles in the streets everyday. They may have never heard of Unitarian Universalism. We are not their leaders. The question is whether we will see them as our leaders.
Imagine a world in which all of the social movement I have named are defeated, defused, and repressed.
Law enforcement continues to kill people at will; the prisons are expanded; women's health is sacrificed for patriarchal morality; transwomen are murdered unnoticed; 11 million people ride cattlecars to the border; the world gets hotter; the rich get richer; the poor get poorer.
What are the prospects of Unitarian Universalism in such a future?
The mismatches I named earlier are the surface signs of a deeper problem, which is our insularity. And our insularity comes from the way that the historical process has shaped us. For we have been shaped by history in such as a way as to be out of touch with what is ground-breaking and innovative in the culture in which we live. History has shaped us to be on the sidelines.
And on the sidelines, we will wither.
So, we need to get off the sidelines, and into life, as it is known and lived by ordinary people today. There is our hope.
Unitarian Universalism must become the most accessible point of contact for and a holistic expression of the movement for social and personal transformation in our culture.
It is a deep spiritual challenge, but we have the theological and religious tools to guide us in that process of spiritual growth.
More on that tomorrow.....