Monday, January 30, 2006

Current Voting Results and more discussion of the nature of the "Fixing UUism" contest

I intended to update voting results every two days, but tomorrow is looking like the mother of all busy days, so I will go ahead.

With 4 votes apeice, member ratification of GA resolutions and developing a mission statement are tied. The moratorium on GA complaints and putting social justice issues in a religious context have three votes apiece. Most of the remaining proposals have one or two votes apiece.

Seven people have voted so far. I will vote sometime midweek.

Ok, now a word on the contest.

Though UUA reform ended up being the general gist of most of the suggestions, much as government reform was the theme of the Sliced Bread Competition, the contest on which this was based, I didn't necessarily start it thinking that would be the result.

To be honest, I didn't think much about it at all. As I've written other places, I pretty much saw the sliced bread contest and thought "Gee, we should try that for UUism!" and went with it. My big worry was that nobody would want to participate and I'd look stupid.

I may look stupid other ways sometimes, but I surely can't complain about the level of participation in this contest and the level of enthusiasm I've seen.

A Catholic friend of mine checked in on my blog this weekend and was just amazed by what she saw. People in most other faiths just don't feel free to sidle up to a blog and say "I think X is a problem with what we're doing as a religion and we should do Y and Z to fix it."

We do.

And yes, it was no doubt cheeky of me to put this up, and probably somewhat disrespectful to those who do this for a living, though being told how to do their job is probably nothing at all new to people who work in religious fields. It sure isn't in the political ones.

But at the same time, I can't deny that I am proud to belong to a faith where saying "Hey, there are problems, and we should fix them!" is not a particularly revolutionary statement.

That said, I've been keeping an eye on Left Coast Unitarian's thread about what people love about UUism. I'm always confused by those who assume that people who are criticizing something don't love it.* (A sentiment represented in on LCU by James' statement When I miss church and read UU blogs all too often I get the impression that there is so little love for Unitarian Universalism among my co-religionists.)

To me, the people who see an institution and want to improve it are exactly the sort of people (Robertson Davies called them "strivers-after-better-things") that I want to hang out with and they are showing a great love for their institution. In her response to James, Jess talks about UUism as a living, breathing, evolving institution. I agree, and I see conversations like this one as part of that process.

Could I have handled this better? Sure. "Improving UUism" would have been a better title for the whole enterprise, first of all. People seem to resent the idea that UUism is broken. IMHO, institutions we love are always like Toyotas. First the radio doesn't work quite right,then the door handle on a passenger door breaks, but you never think of giving up the car because you love the car and it still runs OK. But there are still little things that can be fixed to make the driving experience more pleasant. That's all I meant by it.

I just love the word "fixing." It has such a powerful, hands-on connotation. And I think it speaks well to my point that we love our car that, as Chutney noted, almost no complaints here are about the practice of UUism. Nobody says "refining belief through reason has to go" or complains about the water communion. Nobody even rallies to get rid of Joys and Concerns, a proposal I would have rejected on polity grounds but soundly agreed with in principle.

Steve Caldwell is right that there should be some way to vet the rules against UUA bylaws. As I am loath to get into interpretation arguments about what they mean, I didn't choose to disqualify rules on that basis, but having a mechanism for doing so would have been a good idea. (If I ever do this again, I may recruit religious professionals to serve as anonymous judges.)

Anyway, that's all I wanted to say. No malice toward my beloved faith intended. Keep those votes coming to chalicechick at gmail dot com.

Love and kisses,


*After all, I will complain about the hippies and activists I run into protesting a lot of different ways, but you will never see me questioning their patriotism. I don't. If they didn't basically believe in the American system of government, they would stay home.


Robin Edgar said...

If The Emerson Avenger didn't basically believe in the purported Principles and Purposes and other claimed ideals of U*Uism, he would stay home. . . ;-)

Jess said...

Hey, CC, thanks for the link.

As an exercise in brainstorming, your project is certainly a success, but, the whole thing kinda reminds me of a blogging-network SAI. ;-) As with those passed at GA, they have their uses only if some kind of tangible result comes to pass.


Chalicechick said...

I hear you, Jess. Especially since the study action issue we passed last year is all about talking, I am sensitive to this concern.

But I guess all change with an organization has to come with some talking at the beginning.

Mostly, I was curious what changes people would make if they could.

Can't find that out without asking.


Jess said...

Absolutely true about the asking thing.

I'm frustrated with the SAI we passed last GA, though I was initially excited by its potential to spark conversation, because I've barely heard a thing on it since it was passed.

I'll get into that another time. ;-)