Branding: who we are, what we do, why it matters
UU bloggers continue to react to the new UUA logo, announced last week as the first part of a comprehensive brand strategy.
The Rev. Dawn Cooley suggests that early reactive responses happened because “surprised people react poorly.”
The anxiety in our UU system is quite high right now. Just as surprised people who feel left out of the process tend to react poorly, so also is the inverse true: Informed people who are brought along in the process tend to be more invested in the outcome. (Speaking of, February 15)
Shawna Foster disagrees, writing that how people handle surprises is a reflection of their character.
People who can’t roll with the punches, in my experience, are people who’ve always been able to control what’s going on in their little universe, and expect it at all times to be secure. People who can’t afford that kind of security and know they’re not the ones in control of their lives are able to handle surprises, good and bad ones, in a mature way. (Enterprise, February 19)
The Rev. Dr. Victoria Weinstein explores the differences between a transient logo and a permanent symbol.
Creating a logo is just a way of waving your hand in public to greet the general public. It in no way has to cheapen or commodify what you do in your actual community. The logo gives people an opportunity to connect with you. It doesn’t represent your community’s capitulation to consumer culture. (PeaceBang, February 18)
Chris Walton reflects on the beacon-related images we have embraced throughout our history.
Here’s my modest insight: The flaming chalice is an interior lamp, a flame to light indoors in the particular context of worship. As an emblem, it’s tied to the Service Committee’s public service history, but in our experience, it’s a symbol of our religion as practiced in sanctuaries and homes. But it has a cousin in our symbolic tradition that is a flame lit in the public square: the beacon lit in times of public crisis, the candles held up in vigils, the lantern in the steeple. (Philocrites, February 17)
Paul’s Letter to the Romans gives the Rev. Elizabeth Curtiss a framework for thinking about the new brand strategy initiative.
This is what the fight is really about: not whether Unitarian Universalists have a symbol that matters to the small groups who know it, but whether we can establish a symbol that dominates the conversation about the things we believe. (Politywonk, February 17)
Among other reactions, the Rev. Scott Wells dubs the conversation “Logogate,” Rev. Dr. Cynthia Landrum wonders about a name change, and Thomas Earthman worries about the text. (Boy in the Bands, February 17, RevCyn, February 20, and A Material Sojourn, February 14)
Siding with love, against indifference
Kim Hampton accuses the UUA of being more interested in style than substance.
The UUA’s treatment of the new logo and its roll-out being more newsworthy/homepage-worthy than 1,500 UUs in Raleigh or a statement about the Jordan Davis murder trial verdict seems to be par-for-the-course to me. (East of Midnight, February 19)
Britton Gildersleeve worries about her cousin’s grandsons.
My cousin Sally is white. Her grandsons are mixed race—their father is black, Sally’s daughter is also white. Each of the culturally sanctioned murders of black men lately is a bludgeon to Sally’s heart. As it should be for all of us. (Beginner’s Heart, February 19)
The Rev. Tom Schade writes about the hastag #NeverLovedUs, which “summarizes the experience of black and brown young people.”
This country never loved black and brown young people, never valued their lives, presumed that they were a menace to society—criminal. As though there were an uncountable surplus of them that could be wasted or misused. . . .
One cannot respond to “#neverlovedus” with a declaration in favor of “equality” or fair law enforcement or a more nuanced doctrine of justifiable self-defense. You have to go deeper, down to the emotional level, to that battle between love and indifference that rages in all of us, and try there to take your place on the side of love. (The Lively Tradition, February 18)
A faith that matters
Peter Bowden’s UUTV publishes a series of videos recorded in 2013 by the Rev. Naomi King: “If Unitarian Universalism Is to Be a Faith that Matters,” “On Disability, Social Media, and Digital Ministry,” and “The Challenge of Social Media to Our Established System.”
John Beckett finds spiritual depth in Pagan and Druid practice, but remains a committed Unitarian Universalist.
Unitarian Universalism keeps me connected to this world. It reminds me there are immediate needs that religion and religious people need to address. . . . Like most religious organizations, we talk more than we do, but we do more than any other religious organization I’ve been involved with. (Under the Ancient Oaks, February 16)
The UU Church of Ogden, Utah, receives a rave review from a visiting blogger.
The love and sense of community you feel in it is almost tangible. . . . They approach religion and faith not with simple dogmatic answers that are beyond question, nor with the arrogance of certainty, but with humility and acknowledgment that there are diverse beliefs out there. (52 Weeks in 52 Faiths, February 16)
The Free Range Unitarian Universalists of Indianapolis shared this image, via the UU Media Works Facebook Page.
Odds and ends
Justin Almeida asks, “What is the difference between me playing the fool and making good life choices?”
I’ve come to identify that “wisdom” is taking what I know, and letting that knowledge be guided by my heart. However, it’s not just a one way street. It’s also taking the passions of my spirit, and running those intense feelings and emotions through my rational mind. In all the decisions I’ve made that have been positive and constructive, I had taken the time to let my mind and spirit have a conversation about my actions. (What’s My Age Again, February 17)
The Rev. James Ford shares a video of his talk, delivered at the Harvard Divinity School, entitled “Zen and the Art of Liberal Ministry.” (Monkey Mind, February 19)
The Rev. Tamara Lebak rolls three identities into one experience: minister, activist, rock star (Under the Collar in Oklahoma, February 14)
The Rev. Joanna Fontaine Crawford celebrates the joys of deep friendships.
[Friendship] is a love story of another sort. . . . Friends fight. Friends get disappointed in each other. Friends have each other on a pedestal, the friend drops, and yet still, amazingly, we love each other. Warts and all, we are friends. (Boots and Blessings, February 14)