Now that my semester is officially done, I can be my usual questioning-of-the-UUA self. So I took a closer look at the proposed topics up for discussion at the summit on ministerial excellence and have picked out the 6 that either raise the biggest questions or strongest reaction. These are in no particular order.
12. How we can best support seminary students in UU identity
What is UU identity? (or for that matter what is Catholic or Orthodox or Methodist identity) In the free church tradition, what makes someone a UU? Is UUism more about what we think? or how we think?
22. Are lay ministers really ministers?
Only in an upper-class religion would this be a question. What do you mean by minister? Someone who has some prerequisite education?
24. Value of UU theological schools in training UU ministers and developing UU theology and culture
When 70% of UU ministers come from non-UU theological schools, what does this mean?
32. How to keep UU youth
Let’s not forget that it’s not just a UU issue about losing a significant number of youth. Most denominations go through the same thing. If the issue is how do you maintain contact with those who are raised UU, then maybe we need to look at the churches that seem to keep larger numbers of their youth and see what they are doing. But of course that would require UUs to actually believe that there is something to learn from the Evangelical and Fundamentalist world.
36. Teaching Elders
What do you mean by Elders? In the tradition I was raised in, the Elders would be like a Board of Trustees. Some of those churches even ordained Elders. Is that the type of Elder you’re talking about?
41. What UUism would look like if we really put our children at the center of our life together
Will I make a bad minister if I tell you that I don’t believe that children should be at the center of our life together? This does not mean that I think you should ignore children, but what makes children so special that they need to be the center of our life together?
I’m sure I’ll have more comments the longer I think on this stuff. That’s it for now though.