Monday, January 23, 2006

Fixing UUism: Real Outreach


Real Outreach
Unitarian Universalism needs to start seriously evangelizing. I'm not
talking about ads in Times Square, or 'Principles' wallet cards. We need
to give every person in America a basic idea of what we are about, as a
first step.
This would require much more advertising, or very much more personal effort. I don't think going door
to door is in the cards, we need to find our own style, but we need to
do it in bulk. This is worth a whole other brainstorming contest.
Then we need to start being present and talking to people about why the
things that we value are important, and why a church is a good way to
promote those values. We need to look to groups that would be
sympathetic (homosexuals, minority religion members, environmentalists,
etc.), and also to groups that we have not appealed to in the past. (The
poor, the uneducated, the bigoted, and even the fundamentalists.) We
need to give everyone in America a Personalized 'Elevator Speech' as a style="font-weight: bold; font-style: italic;">second step.
Then we will be ready to start a real outreach.
While we are doing that, we can use what we are learning to look into
evangelizing overseas. Of course, we should NOT link our charitable
services with conversion, or probably even evangelism, but that does not
mean we can't present our faith as an option to people overseas, and
help them establish churches. Unitarian Universalism is about some very
powerful and useful ideas. People dedicated to those ideas being present
woudl be very helpful to the rest of the world.
During WWII Unitarians in Germany adopted the Flaming Chalice as a
secret symbol to help Jews and others escape. Unitarian Universalist can
not help people escape genocide if there are no Unitarian Universalists
in the country.

We are not good at evangelism, and many of us don't even like the idea,
but it will give us new blood, more numbers, a better presence, and a
stronger voice. We can promote
our principles without violating them.


TheCSO said...

What Unitarian Universalism would we be evangelizing? I don't see a firm committment to faith refined through religion making the cut. I suspect that this would end up further reinforcing the impression among non-UUs that UUism is about "believe whatever you want, so long as you're a liberal".

I like the idea of doing real outreach and evangelism. However, I think that the UUA would do it in a way that would do more harm than good.

Robin Edgar said...

It already is doing that. . .

Anonymous said...

We are in the planning stages of a UU radio talk show. The idea is to talk about current events in the light of UU values (seven Ps?). The radio station is enthused, we have a small group who are enthused. We're trying.

Robin Edgar said...

Um. . . Care to talk about these current events in light of U*U values?

That kind of Real Outreach just might help in really fixing UUism. . .

Anonymous said...

Those of you committed to winding your way through all of these suggestions and the labyrinths of comments deftly leapfrogging Robin's relentless rants, may be surprised to hear that this is a proposal this grumpy old man can whole heartedly support.

In fact, I think there is a lot of interest and movement on this both from individual congregations and from local clusters and groups, with UUA blessing and support, by the way. Here in the Chicago area we are getting together for just such a push. I know that when we don't hide our considerable light under a barrel, we do attract committed folks. It has helped my congregation double in size in the last ten years.

Anonymous said...

Modern day evangelicals are little more than propagandists using the vocabulary of christianity to push a political agenda. Unitarians don't need to evangelize.