Chasing down robbers, election season strategies, and more from UU blogs

Chasing down robbers

Liz James chases down a pair of car thieves, and is less than satisfied by the outcome.

[It] turns out “catching” is a terrible word. It’s become about chasing and punishment and “robbers.” Catching. I wish it meant like you do when someone is falling.

It is not satisfying at all to be responsible for putting someone in jail. I would way rather be responsible for keeping them out. (Hummingbird Homemaker, October 1)

Election season strategies

The Rev. Amy Zucker Morgenstern feels betrayed by California Governor Jerry Brown—but then she remembers an important fact about political organizing.

The trust we are building is not the trust between friends, but the trust between allies: you help me reach my goals and I’ll help you reach yours. To make the alliance stick, we need to show that we’re powerful enough to be of real help. (Sermons in Stones, October 1)

Bill Baar, a UU “of a conservative bent,” likes a bit of conflict in politics and in religious community.

If I find myself in a room where everyone agrees, I feel something must be wrong. Polished stones only get that way with friction, and the same applies to thought and ideas. They need some friction to find form. (Pfarrer Streccius, October 4)

While preparing a sermon about the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the Beloved Community, the Rev. Sam Trumbore began thinking about the controversy surrounding President Obama’s “you didn’t build that” comment.

King challenges the self-made man paradigm, the rags to riches story that is so popular among the aspiring (and often conservative Republican) middle class.  This is also the secular, isolated individualist libertarian message that wants “to do it by myself.” . . .

A better model for the 21st century might be the person deeply connected in a wide network of relationships who is able to recognize connections and opportunities that will strengthen the network and expand its reach.  (Rev. Sam Trumbore, October 3)

Making soup (and sharing the recipe!) is the Rev. Dr. Victoria Weinstein’s strategy for election season.

I walk a little more slowly and cautiously through my days, shielding my eyes and scuttling away when conversations threaten to turn ugly. I dodge the subject of politics with dear friends who stand on the other side of the fence, and appreciate our tacit mutual agreement not to fight. I make soup. (PeaceBang, October 4)

Is Unitarian Universalism growing?

In various forms of social media, UUs responded to an article in USA Today about the growth of Unitarian Universalism between 2000 and 2010.

“Plaidshoes” was glad to hear that UUism is growing, but had heard differently.

According to the UU World article by Chris Walton, is in decline.  Perhaps there is a disconnect between UUA membership and UU identification?  I would love to think that our inclusive message is spreading and growing, but is it really?  (Everyday Unitarian, October 4)

For Jason Pitzl-Waters, the growth of Unitarian Universalism signals that it is benefitting from “growing distrust and disillusionment of rigid one-true-way monotheistic forms of religion.”

The long-mocked theological flexibility of the UUA, which allows Pagans and Humanists alike in their pews to worship alongside the UU Christians may turn out to be a secret strength that allows it to weather the post-Christian cultural transition that many Christian religious bodies seem unprepared for. (The Wild Hunt, October 3)

Who are we?

After listening to the tropes (recurring motifs, phrases, and images) of contemporary Christian music, Vance Bass asks, what are Unitarian Universalism’s tropes?

The point of all this rumination is that we could be writing songs – a lot more songs – that reaffirm or promote our beliefs, if we had the words to make it easier. Is this possible? Do we have the theological depth and the accumulated language to identify our UU tropes? (Liberal Religion Gets Loud, October 1)

After several rounds of blogging debates about UU beliefs and polity, Thomas Earthman has decided that he can no longer call himself a Unitarian Universalist.

I have a religion, but it has been made very clear to me over the last few weeks that it is not Unitarian Universalism. It has become clear to me that Unitarian Universalism does not really exist as a thing, because there is no way to define it. If there is nothing that we stand for, collectively and unabashedly, then we wear a meaningless label that reeks of all but the worst stereotypes lobbed at us by the likes of The Simpsons and Stephen Colbert. (A Material Sojourn, September 28)

Around the blogosphere

The Rev. Tera Little explores her anxiety about inviting Facebook friends to church.

And as I look at my list of friends, my hand hovers over each box next to their names. Should I invite them? Will they think I’m being too forward? Do they have a bad association with church, will this turn them off, and will they want to unfriend me? (Go Love the World, October 2)

“Lizard Eater” writes a guide for ministers and DREs moving to Texas to serve UU congregations there.

First step is to determine whether you are in a Texas UU Church. This is not as easy as it sounds. There are UU churches in Texas where the leaders in the church for decades have been from Not Around Here, notably Michigan. This will be a different culture than the UU churches made up of born and bred Texans. (The Journey, September 30)

The Rev. Dr. Cynthia Landrum answers the perennial question asked of ministers: “What do you do the rest of the week?”

I don’t mind the question.  Indeed, I welcome it.  It’s a frequent frustration among ministers that, regardless of how hard we work, the perception exists that we really only work on Sunday morning.  (Rev. Cyn, October 2)