Monday, June 25, 2018

What I See Going On in the UUA

There is a national popular movement going on. Trump precipitated it, but it is widening and deepening to challenge many linked oppressive systems. It is not a shallow, or narrow, movement. It is not fly-by-night, or a flash in the pan.

Unitarian Universalists are in this movement in many ways. Congregations are answering the call to take to the streets in demonstrations, rallies, and in civil disobedience. For the most part, and of course, there are going to be exceptions, UU's are participating appropriately, following leadership from others more qualified, and staying in their proverbial lane. 

Our denominational leaders encourage participation. They, too, are acting appropriately for their role. They communicate frequently, and with clarity and precision. They rally UU's and they provide a broad, value-driven, analysis that grounds itself in our pluralistic religious tradition. Our leaders are now no longer Baby Boomers, so they bring a more up-to-date understanding of public witness.

And, the Unitarian Universalists are doing the internal work about racism, white supremacy, and oppression. We have begun to break with our past attitudes when we saw ourselves as virtuous, and others as evil. Leadership from African American Unitarian Universalists and other UU's of Color is coming to the fore.Congregations are studying white supremacy. Painful testimony is being heard about our own practices of exclusion. The UUA has set as its goal institutional change. Is this work done? Obviously not, but it has begun. 

There is no reason for Unitarian Universalists to be depressed, discouraged, or despondent. Our religious movement is, in the imperfect way of all human institutions, doing what it should be doing, in the present moment.

It should be doing more, and faster, and with more wisdom. Of course.

As in every social movement I have ever seen, there is also judgement, rudeness, impatience, intolerance, self-righteousness, and conflict. People bring all their shit into social movements and really let it fly in the heightened atmosphere. But none of that should distract us from what is most important.

If this is not the moment we have been waiting for, then what are we waiting for?


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