Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Now is the Time?




Time for what?

Other than opening your wallet, I mean.

I went to the uua.org website and surfed around the "Now is the Time" pages to try to figure out why they need the dough, how they intend to spend it, what concrete results they hope to achieve, and what their vision is for our future. About all you can find is some vague happy talk about growing.

Well, sorry, but this birthright UU and Yankee-by-choice grew up indoctrinated in the probative value of rational skepticism. So, as Michael Servetus said, right before they lit his personal barbecue, "Where's the beef?"

Growth doesn't just happen by throwing money at it. If you want a bountiful harvest, you have to cast good seed, and it has to fall upon fertile ground. If your seed is bad it won't sprout. If it falls on poor soil it may sprout up quickly, but it will soon wither. At least, that was the point of a UUA-approved lesson that I taught from the "Jesus and his Kingdom of Equals" curriculum to a bunch of fourth- and fifth-graders last spring. Don't they read their own propaganda?

It also happens to be the point of Matthew 13:3-23, Mark 4:2-20, and Luke 8:4-8, where the lesson first originated a couple of thousand years ago, but (as PeaceBang notes) these days a lot of UUs seem to consider themselves more authoritative than Matthew, Mark and Luke.

I would dearly love to see our denomination grow. However, to do so we need a vision, a message and a concrete action plan that can succeed. I just don't see them. I'm not interested in helping the UUA piss away $20 million try to persuade people that UUs are more authoritative than anyone else about anything, but I don't see much reason yet to hope that they would do anything else with the money.

7 Comments:

At July 4, 2007 at 9:18:00 AM EDT, Blogger Chalicechick said...

((( So, as Michael Servetus said, right before they lit his personal barbecue, "Where's the beef?"))))

That made Chalicechick wince.


CC

 
At July 4, 2007 at 7:02:00 PM EDT, Anonymous kim said...

So, do you have a vision to offer?
I picture a world where everyone has freedom and justice and hope; where we build a better world because we can. Where what we offer is the vision that we have hope, that we have reason to hope, that we can make a good world without having to believe the same details about theology. A world in which we all teach compassion to our children, and censure adults who fail to show compassion. Where those who worship only money are not the most respected, where money is viewed as only a tool rather than a way to measure our worth. Where our family values are real: we value each other and use the Golden Rule in all our daily affairs, including business.
I see us offering the world the hope and the vision that we can make our world ethical and kind, because ethical and kind are religious/spiritual values. Where there is no need to be cynical...
Is that what you meant?
(this is not well thought out, but off the cuff, so I probably left stuff out and said it badly....)

 
At July 5, 2007 at 12:31:00 AM EDT, Blogger fausto said...

I agree with your vision, kim, and I think most UUs would, but it is a broad vision for a just society, not a specific vision for how to spend $20 million and increase membership.

I don't think the UUA should have launched a fundraising campaign to grow the denomination without being able to articulate a clear program and expected results.

 
At July 5, 2007 at 9:40:00 PM EDT, Anonymous kim said...

Well, what I would like to see done with money like that is to get UU programs on radio and TV so that people can hear in more detailed way what our values are. I don't think 30 second ads are very useful for our type of people. I think the people we attract are more thoughtful and nuanced and would prefer to hear what we really have to say rather than the sound-bite version.

 
At July 5, 2007 at 10:11:00 PM EDT, Blogger fausto said...

That might work. I could think of a lot of other things they could do with the money that could be worthwhile, too.

What troubles me is that they're asking for the money before proposing anything specific to do with it. It makes me suspect that they might not really have a good idea what to do with it, or worse, might spend it on something counterproductive.

 
At July 7, 2007 at 10:31:00 PM EDT, Blogger PeaceBang said...

When I asked Stephen Papa what they were going to do with the money, he spoke about "encouraging connectionalism." Among other things. Considering what the UUA board just did to the IA's, I thought that was interesting and potentially inconsistent.

 
At July 11, 2007 at 10:52:00 AM EDT, Blogger Adam Becker Sr said...

"Encouraging connectionalism."?!

Wikipedia sez Connectionalism is the theological understanding and foundation of Methodist polity. It basically means that all local congregations are interrelated through the larger church.

So we need $20 million to be Methodists – or to accept their polity?

 

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