Why I Will Continue To Bitch…….or What Is Wrong With UU the Way It Is

it’s mid-semester break for us here at ESR and Bethany, so I will probably write on here for the next couple of days.

So I was looking through UUpdates earlier today and came across Strange Attractor’s post “What Is Wrong With UU the Way It Is”. I was going to respond on her blog, but felt that it would be more polite to respond here.

What is wrong with UU the way it is? Nothing, if it weren’t assumed that what drew YOU to UUism is the only way for UUism to be. And, unfortunately, in too many cases UUism is presented (implicitly and explicitly) as being only one way. You’re a middle-aged white woman who listens to NPR, votes Democrat, buys organic food and doesn’t believe in God. Well….bully for you!  But if your congregation, implicitly or explicitly, by word or by deed makes those who are not white, not middle-aged, don’t listen to NPR, vote however they feel, doesn’t buy organic food and maybe just maybe believes in God feel as if they are unwelcome, then I’m going to continue to bitch.

As long as the model UU congregation is the exurban church with 100 members and can only been seen after you drive through 50 miles of woods and not a congregation like The Living Room in Oklahoma or Micah’s Porch in Chicago, I will continue to bitch.

As long as there is active (that may be too strong a word, but it’s what I can think of) discouragement of taking the U/U/UU message into non-traditional UU areas, I will continue to bitch.

As long as the number of ministers of color is so small that they can tell you what number they are, I will continue to bitch.

U/U/UUs have been talking a good game for a little more than a century now. At some point, that talk becomes very thin.  It’s time for this movement to either put up or stop talking.

So….what’s wrong with UU the way it is? Nothing for you. And that’s fine. Lots of things for me, and that’s fine too.

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11 thoughts on “Why I Will Continue To Bitch…….or What Is Wrong With UU the Way It Is

  1. I’m going to write a post on this over the weekend. I too read the orignal post and it’s had me thinking.

    I think it’s worth noting there is my Church, there is UUA, there is something out there called UUism, and there is the UU Blogosphere. I don’t think there is anything wrong with my Church. I’m certain there are things we could do better, but nothing wrong. UUA could do a lot of things better. In fact it might be better if they stopped doing some things. But I’d hesitate to say there is something “wrong”.

    Anyways, more later…

  2. My guess, at this point, is that it largely boils down to taking–and taking on–classism as seriously as we have taken other ~isms. Not entirely, of course. But largely.

    At least for now.

    It’s not just about color/race. It’s just that we can see that… and see our failures there more easily. It’s far easier not to see the failure in regards to people of other class. While we do have members who aren’t affluent, we also have members who aren’t white. In neither case do they prove that there’s not a problem.

    And that’s not a problem that can be scapegoated to the UUA; it exists in the vast majority of our congregations. Just a for example, there’s a former church administrator who never joined and rarely attended; lovely woman who cared deeply about us (and even comes back to visit when she’s visiting from out of state). When I asked her once about it, she said she didn’t think she’d fit, that she wasn’t ‘smart’ (educated) enough.

    White.

    Our loss. Our deep loss.

    And we do it over and over and over–and it intersects with race and overlays it so much because race and class are so interwoven… and I fear that we can’t really make much progress with the one while we’re enslaved to the other and oblivious to it.

    The majority of our visitors come knowing enough about *what* we are that we’re attractive. It’s the who we are and how we are that I believe we fail at most. Because the vast majority of our visitors stream away, too. Yet even so, there’s something that causes three to four times as many people to claim they’re UUs. They just don’t want to be part of our churches… which really points the finger at our congregations, not at the UUA.

    So I add my thanks and applause to LE’s. Maybe the answer to Strange Attractor is not “what’s wrong” so much as “what’s not right.” They’re not the same things.

  3. Thanks for responding to my post. I don’t mean to say that UU churches shouldn’t reach out to other groups whether those be along race or class lines. I just don’t want to lose what I love about UU in order to become something else.

    If I wanted everyone to be like and think like me, I don’t think I would have been drawn to UU’ism in the first place. Your post and the comments I received on my blog have given me a lot to think about. I still think we would be better served by focusing on what we do well better than on constant complaint about what is wrong with us.

  4. “ut if your congregation, implicitly or explicitly, by word or by deed makes those who are not white, not middle-aged, don’t listen to NPR, vote however they feel, doesn’t buy organic food and maybe just maybe believes in God feel as if they are unwelcome, then I’m going to continue to bitch.” etc. etc.

    Then I figure you will be bitching for at least another decade or two Kim. 🙂

    More power 2 U. 😉

    I to will be bitching about U*Us who talk the talk of *The* Tiny Declining Fringe Religion™ but abjectly fail, or worse. . . obstinately refuse, to walk the walk of The U*U Movement (sorry I just couldn’t resist that visual pun) for a while yet myself.

    In fact I have some brand spanking new bitching all lined up with respect to civility in religious dialogue in the U*U World. I got the ball rolling here –

    http://baptistplanet.wordpress.com/2009/10/22/interfaith-alliance-call-for-restoration-of-civility/

  5. I don’t expect The Living Room in Turley Oklahoma or Micah’s Porch in Chicago to meet your standards for very long Kim. You will undoubtedly find reasons to bitch about them too. You appear to afflict the comfortble and comfort the afflicted and that gets old after awhile.

  6. Pingback: UU growth, Afghanistan, lies, and more « uuworld.org : The Interdependent Web

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