Showing posts from February, 2019

Complicating the Great Reformation: Dialectical Theology (Part 11 of many)

There was a Great Reformation of Unitarian Universalism beginning in the early 1970's. In my previous post, I ascribed this to the empowerment of women as both professional religious leaders and in lay leadership in congregations. I think that my view would be widely supported.

I want to complicate the question from three directions.

One is to ask about the relationship between that development and the Black Empowerment Controversy that preceded it in time.

Looking back to this history through the lens of intersectionality, we should not so easily separate the black rebellion against white racism in the UUA from the women's rebellion against patriarchy in the UUA. These may look like two different movements but they were struggling against a single entity, a white supremacist patriarchy, the generations of white men who owned and controlled the institutions of liberal religion.  Who were the black women in those struggles and how did they see the UUA at the time? How would our…

The Great Reformation (Dialectical Theology, Part 10 of many)

Women. Women remade Unitarian Universalism from the early 70's on. That process is still going on.
I can't recount that history; I just want to more accurately frame it. The transformation has been so big, so comprehensive, that it is hard to see. Like the weather and climate: people see the blizzards, the drought and the storms, but can't see the magnitude of the ongoing change.

Women were marginalized in Unitarian Universalism before the 70's. They contributed most of the volunteer labor that sustained the congregations, and all the denominational structures. UUism was no different, in that regard, from most religious denominations. But women were not the ministers, and not at the highest level of denominational leadership. But in process that took decades, women rose to leadership. Not just in the professional ministry, but in lay leadership of local congregations.

Unitarian Universalist theology, liturgy and hymnody were radically changed:
Whereas the main themes of …

The DNA always carries on (Dialectical Theology, Part 9 of Many)

If you have not yet read Mark Morrison-Reed’s history of the Black Empowerment Controversy, do so as soon as possible.

Is there any period of time when the interplay of historical developments outside of Unitarian Universalism and its own history were more clear?

The rise of the Black Power movement was a mortal danger to the Unitarian Universalism that was formed in 1961. Racial Liberalism (integrationist, color-blind, universalist) was at the center of its public ministry, and its public ministry was at the heart of its mission. Public ministry had to be because the new denomination had punted on theology and liturgy because of the unresolved conflict between humanists and theists.

Reading Morrison-Reed, what struck me was the good faith effort that the UUA made to respond to the demands of the Black Affairs Council. But it could not let go of its racial liberalism, as evidenced by its unwillingness to stop funding of Black and White Action (BAWA). And that was the breaking po…