Do We Care? Do We Pay Attention?

     I don’t know how many of you are on Facebook or who you’re friends with if you are on there, but late last week I got an update on my homepage that said that one of my friends had responded to a statement posed by one of their friends. Since the statement was about UUism and the UUA, I thought I would post the statement for us to consider. (and of course, if I post the statement here, I can give my cynical answer)
     The statement, as stated on Facebook, is: Why the UUA is not all over this new book, All Shall Be Well: Explorations in Universal Salvation and Christian Theology from Origen to Moltmann…says a LOT about what is wrong with the UUA right now.
     I agree. I think it says a lot about where we are as a movement right now. But…I also think that it says just how much we have removed ourselves from the ongoing theological conversations that are going on in places like the American Academy of Religion. I think it says just how little the average UU knows about our foundations. I think is says how little the average UU wants to grow spiritually or in knowledge of ourselves and our history.
     But on the larger scale…I think it shows just how much UUs don’t pay attention. How many UUs know of the book about Joseph Priestley and English Unitarianism that came out this year? How many know of Anthony Pinn’s new book about embodiment? (oops…sorry…I’m assuming that more than 5 UUs know who Anthony Pinn is) How many UUs know about the biography of Ethelred Brown that came out last year? (excuse me for making the same mistake again…maybe the real question is how many UUs know who Ethelred Brown is)
     There is a lot of talk…scholarly and otherwise…about our movements in history. It’s a shame that all these other people are talking about us and there is no response or invitation to dialogue from us.
     Do we care? Do we pay attention?


2 thoughts on “Do We Care? Do We Pay Attention?

  1. “All shall Be Well” has only been out for a week or so (short enough that when i ordered some books from its publisher on Nov 11, it was not on their website. I also read two emails from UUs about it (one that mentioned the UU Historical Society was thinking of reviewing the book). So there is some slight talk about it.
    The Joseph Priestly book that came out this year is very expensive, does it compliment the 2007 biography by Bowers? How many biographies of Priestly do I need (I have 3)? (add smiley here) The book on E. Brown was also very expensive; but at least I know who he was – as I am not one of the 5 UUs who knows who Pinn is.
    There were nice biographies recently on Mary Livermore and Horace Greeley, both of which discussed how their religious views effected their work. Not much notice from UUs on those either.
    How should we get the news out on these things?
    On the other hand,

  2. Since I did read Mark Morrison-Reed’s book and do know a bit about Ethelred Brown, and since I just asked the university library to get in one of Anthony Pinn’s books for me, I’m going to take the opportunity to give you my not-exactly-cynical answer:

    As a board member at my local church, I spend a lot of time reading for the present, with operational challenges stacked like cordwood.

    Right now, I’ve got Governance and Ministry close enough to touch, two hymnals with my bass, and various books on worship and on youth in various places to help me think about what I’m going to do in our next children’s chapel.

    It’s not that I’m uninterested in theology or in UU history. Offer me a way other than self-study and I’m there. I often feel, especially with theology, that I’m reading above my head. It’s that or not read on it at all, and so here I am.

    Mr. Google gives us a hint, with the add for a distance learning company offering this: “Earn A Theology Degree or Diploma from Home”

    Now, I’m not touching that, as I work with distance learning in my day job, and I’m skeptical of the for-profits who produce it. I’m also aware that it’s not as simple as building a course and running people through it like rats through a maze. It takes staffing.

    I’d settle for a list for guided reading on theology.

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