UUA outreach, the Mass Moral March, challenging classism, and more

A new logo for the UUA

The UUA launched a new logo this week as part of a larger outreach effort. Online reactions—particularly in UU Facebook conversations—began rolling in almost immediately. The UUA’s announcement on Facebook provoked vigorous commentary. (Facebook, February 14)

The Rev. Dr. Cynthia Landrum writes an open letter to the UUA, expressing her gratitude and hope for this new effort.

I’m a minister who has been out in the field for over a decade, and is relatively technologically proficient for someone in the ministry with a liberal arts degree preceding that, but there are ways in which I was unprepared for the way ministry and church would change during my ministry. And as a minister of a relatively small church, I see ways in which my church is unable to respond. There are concrete things that the UUA could do that would make things easier. . . .

Conquer these, and you’ll free us up to do that reaching out to our larger community and to the “nones.” Thank you again for your vision. I look forward to having the tools to address it. (Rev. Cyn, February 13)

Desmond Ravenstone is among the UUs who wondered why a new logo was necessary.

Seriously, folks. Feedback from your own studies indicates that we’re not being consistent in our message, that we’re not that articulate in explaining Unitarian Universalism to younger people in particular and people in general. And this is your response?? (Ravenstone’s Reflections, February 13)

Tim Atkins defends the branding effort against complaints about costs.

I’m all for the UUA spending time and money on branding and a logo. It’s desperately needed, especially in our social media age. I say go forth and ignore the haters UUA and keep doing what you should be doing. (Tim Atkins, February 13)

After a day fielding logo-critiques, the Rev. Tom Schade is amazed by his colleagues’ “willful yahooism.”

I am not often discouraged, but the resistance to the new, to change, among my colleagues, especially among colleagues who think of themselves on the cutting edge, is just too depressing tonight. (The Lively Tradition, February 13)

In an earlier post, Schade writes, “Behold the New Logo!”

The new Logo will be a screen
upon which UU’s will project all of their frustrations
about how we think
we are perceived in the wider world. . . .
Behold the New Logo
You Read It—It Reads You. (The Lively Tradition, February 13)

The Rev. Dr. Terasa Cooley shares the history of the initiative in the second half of this week’s episode of The VUU.


Mass Moral March

A sizable contingent of UUs traveled to Raleigh this week for the Mass March, including the Rev. Tom Schade, who reflects on his experience in the first half-hour of this week’s The VUU.

The Rev. Jeff Liebmann attended the march on behalf of those without the freedom to participate.

I went to Raleigh because of the young black man in prison serving time that a white man does not; because of the woman living in a domestic violence shelter with no car, no time off from work and inadequate child care; because of the students in school with no voice and no political influence regarding their future. (uujeff’s muse kennel and pizzatorium, February 10)

The Rev. Scott Wells was not convinced of the march’s effectiveness.

I don’t dispute that tens of thousands of people participated and that many (perhaps most) found it personally meaningful and vitally enriching. . . . But if the Unitarian Universalist part—I’ve heard there were a thousand or so present—is any sign of what Movementarianism might be (or become), we should fold our tents up now and save our heirs the bother. Not only must we be careful to cultivate a sensitive and responsive character, but also cultivate shrewd and effective methods for what we must be. (Boy in the Bands, February 10)

Challenging UU classism

Angel participated in her congregation’s conversation about classism, where she was the only person from a lower class background.

Every time I’m in a situation where someone makes a statement about “us” v. “them,” where “them” refers to the lower-classes, I get uncomfortable, and I get angry.

Because these statements erase my history and my identity. I am fucking proud of where I come from. My parents worked so hard to feed and clothe and educate six kids, and send us all off to really great schools, and also manage to pay off the mortgages of two houses in twenty years and pay down half of another mortgage in just seven years. They are rock stars. (Thoughtful Pauses, February 10; be sure to read the follow-up post on February 14)

Olympics Games in daily life

The Rev. Elz Curtiss writes that for her partner, who has Huntington’s Disease, the tasks of daily living are Olympic Games.

Did a skier’s leg fly out to the side on that turn? Been there, done that. Did the skater fall in a heap before the eyes of the world? Yeah, that happened in the church parking lot. Did the curler have trouble getting the stone on the target? Yep.

But did someone complete a good run on bad ice? Done that, too. Did someone fight back from a deficit, land a spot on the podium with the last run? Did the whole team gather around to console a disappointed competitor? Yes, done those things, too. (Politywonk, February 11)

When the Rev. Tamara Lebak loses her car keys, her inner child throws a tantrum.

My daughter was (fortunately) obsessed in the cartoon of the moment and barely noticed as I alternately riffled beneath and banged my fist on both front seats yelling, “Shit! Shit! Shit!” I knew what was happening. Somewhere inside me was a kinder, gentler, nobler me full of compassion watching a 3-year-old tantrum as expressed by a 41-year-old adult. Three-year-old me and mature-adult me both had on a collar. (Under the Collar, February 11)

The Rev. Robin Bartlett writes that, in our “brutal and beautiful world,” parents need to go to church for themselves, not just for their children.

If church is not a gift for you, it won’t be a gift for your children. You know that old trope that we borrow from plane instructions we hear read by flight attendants–that you have to apply your own oxygen mask first before you apply your child’s, right? Well, you are your child’s religious educator and oxygen mask. Not me. Not our UUA’s religious education curricula. Not our volunteer teachers. Not even our minister. You. (Religious Education at UUAC Sherborn, February 11)

Practicing love

The Rev. Lynn Ungar acknowledges that Valentine’s Day is a difficult holiday for most of us, and suggests embracing the fact that love is hard work.

Just for this one day you could practice love not so much as a feeling but as a choice, a discipline, a practice. You could start with the conviction that everyone certainly needs love, and the possibility that everyone deserves it. Not because they have earned it, not because they are loveable, but because each of us is capable of being an instrument of grace, which is another name for the love that we don’t have to earn or deserve. (Quest for Meaning, February 12)

As part of the Thirty Days of Love campaign, Christine Organ is talking with her kids about “Brave Love.”

We talked about how love isn’t just flowers and hearts and fuzzy feelings, about how Brave Love is doing the right thing even when it’s really, really hard. Jackson told me about how he showed Brave Love when he stood up for a friend who was being picked on a few weeks ago. He talked about how a classmate showed Brave Love when she agreed to go last in the game they were playing at recess. He talked about how another classmate showed Brave Love when he told some kids to stop kicking down their snow fort. (Christine Organ, February 7)