‘Congregations and Beyond,’ Black History Month, and more UU blogging

Responding to ‘Congregations and Beyond’

UU social media continues to buzz this week with reactions to UUA President Peter Morales’ vision statement, “Congregations and Beyond.” In addition to a face-to-face, UUA-sponsored consultation in Orlando, many individual Unitarian Universalists are participating in vigorous online discussion in a Facebook group dedicated to this topic, and conversation on Twitter is gathering around the hashtag #congbeyond. UU bloggers also continue to engage with Morales’ vision statement.

Liz James shares the perspectives of the members of her Digital Literacy Class at Meadville Lombard.

When the price of membership is conformity to a structure that is culturally foreign or negative, people might say “I’m a UU but not a church person”. Unfortunately, “not a church person” currently translates into “nearly completely shut out of the movement.” (Hummingbird Homemaker, February 1)

The Rev. Tom Schade asks, “What’s a religious movement?”

When some people hear that President Morales wants us to think of ourselves as “a religious movement,” they get anxious. It sounds like the UUA will become even more boundary-less and intentionally less organized. As I understand it, the UUA will never be a “religious movement”. (The Lively Tradition, January 30)

According to the Rev. Christine Robinson, Unitarian Universalists do have a common theology, one that helps us define who we are.

Life is good, and so are you. Reason and Intellectual Faculties are good. You can trust them to understand life. However it’s a Very Big Universe out there, and many important things can’t be known through reason and intellect. For this we have intuition, heart, spirituality, and other faculties which are useful but don’t lead everyone to the same conclusions. Truth on these Very Big matters is best found in conversations, actual, virtual, literary, and internal. It is to be expected that there will be differences. They enrich us. (iMinister, February 1)

Strange Attractor compares the experience of her local congregation and beyond, in the UU blogosphere.

Peter Morales’s recent article and all the responses to it remind me that I often feel like I walk in two separate, but over-lapping Unitarian-Universalist worlds: my church, and the UU blogosphere. . . . I believe strongly in the power of the internet and social media as connecting and community-building tools. If we want to use these tools for evangelism to unchurched UUs, we have to spend less time with self-flagellation. (Strange Attractor, February 2)

Kim Hampton’s view of “Congregations and Beyond” is that the emperor has no clothes.

Maybe it’s because I’m exploring my options with the Disciples of Christ. Maybe it’s because this reads as four pages of words signifying nothing. . . . The longer that I’ve sat with “Congregations and Beyond” the more I get stuck on a question that I don’t think this document even remotely tries to answer–how do you measure success? (East of Midnight, February 1)

UU World editor Chris Walton has created a Storify summary, tracking the conversation about “Congregations and Beyond,” and additional blogging can be found at UUpdates.com.

Celebrating Black History Month

The Rev. Amy Zucker Morgenstern celebrates Black History Month with the first in a series of posts.

The state office building has a “Jim Crow voting obstacle course” in its atrium for Black History Month. Each station explains one of the obstacles, and the choice it poses. You could skip the obstacle; for example, if you skip the “literacy test,” the good news is you’re spared humiliation. The bad news is you don’t get to vote. (Sermons in Stones, February 1)

Plaidshoes, blogging at Everyday Unitarian, lives in an integrated neighborhood in St. Louis.

Due to the housing collapse, a lot of the flight has stopped and people are starting to get used to each other. The misunderstandings and assumptions are fading. . . . To my kids, the world is not segregated. Skin color is just a color. Their best friends are African American and that is completely normal. (Everyday Unitarian, February 2)

The Rev. Dan Harper posts the text of his presentation on race and liberal religion.

[All] too often when I bring up the topic of race or racism, all the white people find something better to do; either that, or they act overly outraged, to the point where I can’t actually have a serious discussion with them about the nuances and fine distinctions and uncertain implications of trying to better define race and racism. (Yet Another Unitarian Universalist, January 30)

Around the blogosphere

UUA President Peter Morales visits with undocumented students in Tucson who cannot go to college, despite their excellent academic records.

What madness! What human waste! I find myself wanting to scream. I find myself feeling as powerless as they are feeling. But I know that I am not powerless, that we are not powerless. (Beyond Belief, January 27)

The Rev. Erik Walker Wikstrom reports that the congregation he serves tried transforming their business meeting into a worship service.

[While] there are some who are still skeptical—and no doubt some who are displeased—most of the feedback I’ve received so far is extremely positive. Some are even declaring it “a success” and saying that we should plan on doing our May meeting in this same way. (A Minister’s Musings, February 2)

Taz the Belgian Tervuren tells us what dogs know about hospitality.

I say that you should open the door and get a good whiff of the person on the other side. If they’re the rare person who smells like they are up to no good, you can close it up again. Otherwise, why not open your heart to the leaping, tail-wagging joy of meeting someone new? (Quest for Meaning, February 1)