Thursday, January 26, 2006

Fixing UUism is off to a kickass start

The Fix UUism contest is off to a great start. Now every entry is a separate post, so we can discuss their merits individually. Keep sending those ideas to Chalicechick at gmail dot com.

Click here if you don't know what's up.

Here are the ideas so far:


A couple of notes:

1. I'm going to go through and add links to the blogs of bloggers who submitted ideas.

2. Addenda to the rules:
A. Generalized opinions are not plans. (e.g. "We should have more diversity" is not a plan. I'm sure Sinkford would love to have more diversity and would gladly snap his fingers and make that happen were that an option. "We should have more diversity and here's how we should get it..." is the beginning of a plan.) People who write to me suggesting more diversity, a central core to UUism or making the UUA more Christian without a plan for getting there will be diqualified under "Rule A." Yes, Robin Edgar's thing about reducing hypocrisy is probably a violation of this, but I'm grandfathering it in as I thought of rule A after reading it.
B. This is a tricky one and I'm afraid it will largely come down to a judgement call on my part. The plans should in some sense be yours. I accepted Jamie Goodwin's idea about changing the name as changing the name is not a plan associated with one specific person and he came up with a voting mechanism. I accepted the UU Monastery idea Indrax submitted because the lady who thought of it is actually another poster on my blog. (UUism is a frightfully small world.) So far, I've rejected a plan that the Commission on Social Witness came up with. In general, if there's already a large movement to put your plan into action, it doesn't need to win theChaliceblog's hinky little contest.
B-2. Addendum to rule B. Ideas that come straight from a famous UU are not eligible to win the contest. But I will gladly put them on the additional ideas page.

3. You people seriously need to sleep in on the weekends. I got some 15 emails with comments, ideas and rules questions between the hours of 4 a.m. and 9 a.m., both eastern time.

4. Philo has posted his own idea which is slightly different in scope. It sounds good to me.

5. Steve suggests everybody review the relevant UUA bylaws before posting something to keep things the UUA is already doing from coming in as suggestions. While I recognize that this is in some ways a good idea, I do not want to get into fights over iterpretation of the bylaws and I also kind of like the "brainstormy" nature of this activity.

My solution is this: Steve seems to be enjoying telling people how wrong they are immensely. So I propose that when it comes time to vote, you read the comments on each proposal you are thinking about voting for. If Steve says the UUA is already doing that proposal and you agree with his interpretation of the bylaws, don't vote for that one.

6. Clyde Grubbs has some interesting things to say about the pseudo-corporate structure of the UUA. Neat stuff. Check it out.

7. I will set up a system for voting over the weekend.

Now, let's talk about the ideas!

CC

7 comments:

Jeff Wilson said...

OK, I take it some of the perceived problem with Sliced Bread was the rather unradical nature of the choices. Therefore, I'm going to make a large proposal, maybe more than one if I have time. This is not necessarily one I would vote "yes" on myself, but it seems worth suggesting, discussing, and considering the pros and cons of. If we're being encouraged to think big, this seems pretty big to me.

Disassociate Unitarianism and Universalism:

The merger was a bold experiment, equal parts vision and economic necessity. After 45 years of work, fun, and toil, it has run its course. Neither Unitarianism nor Universalism anymore, Unitarian-Universalism has become a rudderless, parochial, and shrinking movement saddled with a name like a mouth full of marbles. It lurches on mainly through the force of institutional inertia, hemmoraging members born into the church and primarily providing converts a battleground for pitched fights between Humanists and Christians, Christians and Pagans, Pagans and Humanists, anti-racists and non-racists, Sunday service adults and circle worship youth, etc. Unlike 1961, there are now many mainstream choices for liberal theists, and there are strong and growing communities of Pagans, Buddhists, and other traditions who once needed the shelter of our accepting eaves. Other denominations ordain women, sanctify gay marriages, oppose racism, provide services to the poor, and recognize the beauty of human diversity. The need for Unitarian-Universalism simply isn't apparent anymore.

Instead, let the two faiths part ways with a kiss and a handshake, and let the Church of the Free Mind and the Church of All Souls be reborn. Apart, each can concentrate on honing their unique messages and find once again the particular spiritual and intellectual resources that made each tradition a force of reason, love, and justice in American religious history. Rather than reaching for "all things for all people" and grasping little to nothing instead, return the Unitarian and Universalist denominations to their natural tracks and let them find renewed strength through healthy competition and streamlined bureacracy and theology.

Jeff Wilson said...

OK, here's big idea number two.

A New Merger:

Unitarian-Universalism was born from the combination of two historic traditions. Together they forged something new and unprecedented: other church mergers were re-unions of previously divided denominations (Northern and Southern Presbyterians, etc), but the marriage of Channing and Murray's churches was the making of two disparate bodies into one flesh. The result has been a one-of-a-kind denomination, pushing the boundaries of American religion and regularly redefining the possibilities of such hoary concepts as church, faith, tradition, and even religion.

What is needed at this moment in history is a new merger. Best candidate: the United Church of Christ. We are already close kin, all descendants of the original American religious experiment and leaders of the liberal tradition. We share similar polity, church culture, religious orientations, social concerns, ordination requirements, and even geographic distribution. Our combined strengths would spawn a new chapter in American religion that could revitalize the ailing religious left.

Runner-up alternative partners: Society of Friends, Reform Judaism, Community of Christ, [Your choice here]

Jamie Goodwin said...

CC: You people seriously need to sleep in on the weekends. I got some 15 emails with comments, ideas and rules questions between the hours of 4 a.m. and 9 a.m., both eastern time.

I always stay up all night, except on Saturdays. I work evenings so the only "me time" i get is in the wee hours of the morning.

You should have seen my ministers face when i suggested (not seriously) having a meeting at 2:00 am.

Jamie Goodwin said...

oh and i cannot get the "American Sister Churches" link to work, not sure if it was removed or it's just a bug

indrax said...

(UUism is a frightfully small world.)

Don't worry, it's not THAT small. It was Kim who recomended you to me in the first place.

The group was talking about the prospect of a virtual UU community instead of a physical monastery, or as a step to one. I really only wanted to talk about brick-and-mortar, Kim mentioned UU blogs, with a link to your site. to which I responed:
"I've looked at various UU blogs before, but I can't really 'get into it'.
I'm just not motivated at this point by the prospect of a virtual UU community."

About a month later I fixed your template.

Bill Baar said...

Wow... sorry to keep up with this but there are a lot of good ideas hear. Especially moving to St Louis!

I'd like to get this into a format I can post on the board at Church.

If anyone has thoughts on spreading some of these thoughts within their Church I'd like to hear.

fmodo said...

Reach out to New Regions:

I'd like to see UU more congregations in geographical regions traditionally dominated by other churches. In particular, the South and the mountain states. This could start by linking up UUs known in these areas through the Church of the Larger Fellowship. The broad goal here is that in contrast to the west coast and the Northeast, where the marketing dilemma is 'church vs no church', in these areas church is a larger part of peoples lives in general, so the question is 'this church or that church', which I think UUs can effectively compete in. I hate to think of church as a commodity, but it's a useful analogy here.