Monday, March 28, 2005

CC responds to the Coffee Hour Ipod discussion

I've read all these discussions with a certain measure of delight as this is a topic I've been meaning to bring up for about a week since we just discussed it at a church meeting."> Check it out!

Like Peacebang, I'm not crazy about the language of marketing, though, again like her, I understand its usefulness.

I'm not liking the ideas of the ten-word summary because:

1. It's a creed, or will be one. People will recite it, people will tell other people that it is the sum total of UUism, people will say that other people who violate it are bad UUs, etc.

2. When GA writes a creed, it sucks. Judging by the best example we have, the seven principles, what they will come up with will be a creed-by-committee and thus be mealy-mouthed, lame and nothing any reasonable person doesn't already believe. Thus it will be useless in defining who we are.

Things I think would help in the quest for more members.

1. Shift the focus from "politics" to "charity work." Let's face it, kids, we're not very good at lobbying. The UUA Washington office almost never gets what it wants. We're just not powerful enough. But when we feed the homeless, we're already doing good. And people initially attracted by roll-up-your-sleeves charity work are far more likely to make good members. The conservative churches do it, and they're right.

2. Shift the focus from "diversity" to "freedom." To me diversity is such an empty goal. It's a pleasant byproduct of freedom, so let's advertise the freedom. Diversity will come. But a bunch of white people sitting around arguing about how best to pander to African-Americans is a very sad meeting to be in, and I've been in it.

3. Involve new members immediately. Don't put them to work weeding the flowerbed (unless they like that), but make them feel like they are really a part of something.


More is percolating but I have to head to work



Chalicechick said...

I know some UUs are really involved with habitat.

"Queer eye for the Low rent neightborhood" is awesome.

I had a fantasy that Martha Stewart would come out of prison and want to devote her life to helping poor people live well. (Figuring out inexpensive recipies for really good meals, etc.)


jfield said...

But would it be so bad if Martha really took on prison reform and mandatory sentences that she mentioned in her Christmas letter?

Seriously though, I think I just overreact to your word choice. I think if you used the word service rather than charity I would be with you. As in The Almost Church, when Dural asks "Does your church have windows or mirrors?"

I'm not sure how comfortable I am with the freedom vs. diversity distinction, but getting new members connected and involved right away is essential. In some places, small group ministry does this, but service projects would be another good way to do this.

Do let me know what you think of my longer version of this on my blog. Thanks.