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Blog roundup, Spring 2011

Online responses to UU World.
By Kenneth Sutton
Spring 2011 2.15.11

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Many people discuss Unitarian Universalism and UU World stories on blogs. Keep up with the online conversation: Read UU World’s blog, “The Interdependent Web,” which highlights the best blog commentary each week.

Doug Muder struck a chord with Anna Snoeyenbos at “Deep River” in his Winter 2010 cover story, “Heroes and Mentors”:

“Maybe Doug Muder was right in his UU World article about the generational differences between my parents’ generation and mine—I’m looking to follow the ringing of a prophetic voice, while my parents fought for the value that no voice should ever be heard above the collective murmur of the people.” (December 22)

“Masasa,” writing about uncertain economic times and how “our churches need to prepare to see our communities through some rough seas ahead,” responded to the online version of our profile of the Rev. Ron Robinson (October 11; see page 8): “We look at churches like those of the Rev. Ron Robinson, and we say, ‘Oh, that looks interesting. What great stuff. I want to support what they are doing. But that is not what my own church’s unique identity is all about. That wouldn’t fit us at all. I wouldn’t feel at home in that church. Here at my own church, we’re about Sunday worship. . . ,’ etc., etc. It’s scary to reimagine ourselves. And it’s scary to reimagine ourselves in a future that seems uncertain.” (“Called,” October 29)

Peter Bowden started a conversation about not only the future of districts, but the future of Unitarian Universalism, when he commented on Jane Greer’s UUA Board report, “UUA Board Seeks Big Changes from Districts” (uuworld.org, October 25):

“I’m not sure what the future of districts will be, but I do know the future of Unitarian Universalism requires the following . . .

“We need more revolution ideas, innovation and inspiration.

“We need kick @$$ leadership & ministry development in, between and beyond our congregations.

“We need volunteers and staff engaged in more diverse types and forms of ministries.

“And as UUA President Peter Morales often states, we need trouble makers.

“Maybe being removed from ‘governance and service delivery’ will free our districts to dedicate more time and energy to innovating, fueling revolution and making trouble.” (“The UU Growth Blog,” October 25)

Paul Oakley responded to Donald E. Skinner’s April 2010 report on membership numbers, “UUA Membership Declines for Second Year” (uuworld.org, April 12), by asking what it is that retains members or attracts new ones. He concludes that worship should not carry that role:

“I like to think that worship is not primarily or essentially a tool for evangelism but for forming and celebrating the community that already is. It is by coming to know us in the world that people discover we have something that would add value to their own experience of life. Sure we need to brush up on our elevator speeches, but those speeches have to do with what UUism is in our lives, not in the abstract. The life is the draw. Not the information. And people who encounter us in our acts of social service and advocacy will first experience us as people who are motivated by our faith to help make the world a better place together with those most in need of our joining our strengths with theirs. People might easily not see very much of what we have in that area by visiting our services. They will see it day by day in the world.” (“Inner Light, Radiant Life,” October 7)

John F. Katz, author of the UU culture essay “I’m Proud of UU Culture” (UU World, Spring 2010), recently discovered the online responses to his writing, and replied in the comments at uuworld.org:

“There are subcultures within the United States, spanning every race and class, where women are property, children are punching bags, and violence is glorified as the preferred method of settling disputes among men. I don’t need to read about these people in a news magazine, I’ve met them. I don’t meet them among Unitarians. I’d like to keep it that way.”

Kim Hampton also readdressed the culture essays, writing that she is “tired of being constantly asked to pass. I’m tired of having to decide how much of myself I will be able to bring into whatever UU church I walk into. . . . Why should I give up listening to Jay-Z just because I join a UU church? . . . Why do I have to pass in order to make you feel comfortable? Why is your culture the standard?” (“East of Midnight,” December 23)

The Rev. Fred L. Hammond wrestled with the conundrum presented by the question of whether there is an American ethnicity:

“[B]ecause the dominant Anglo culture has conflated being American with whiteness—an ideology that I reject as a person who strives to undo racism in my life and in my culture—and because my family roots have been here for 400 years and assimilated into the dominant culture a dozen plus more generations ago, losing its ethnic identity, I become invisible because I have no ethnicity that I can authentically claim. Except for the possibility of claiming American as my ethnicity.” (“A Unitarian Universalist Minister in the South,” October 4)

Many bloggers responded to the January 8 shootings in Tucson, Arizona; you can read a survey of those responses at “The Interdependent Web.” (January 17)

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