Saturday, January 21, 2006

Fixing UUism: Streamline the UUA

by theCSO

Right now, the UUA tries to be everything to everyone. We should determine what's most important, most central to our faith, and jettison the rest. Realistically, doing so would take years of study and introspection - but taking a 'slimming down' as the goal, we could turn the UUA into an organization more focused on the core principles and needs of our faith.

If there is still strong support for certain non-core functions - social justice comes to mind - those functions could be spun off into a separate organization. UUA member congregations could then choose whether or not to join those organizations independently of their choice to affiliate themselves with the UUA. This would enhance congregational polity.


Chalicechick said...

If we were to put Social Justice into a separate non-tax-exempt organization, that organization could say whatever it wanted politically without fear of an impact on the churches. And if it were funded separately, the people who have left the UUA because they are tired of being spoken for politically might come back.


Braidwood said...

I like the variety. I think its what makes UUism strong- it is a dynamic faith, thus there will always be more variety as people add to it and change it to meet their needs. The dynamism of an organization is one measure of its health.

Jamie Goodwin said...

Don't we already have an organization seperate from the UUA that has the primary mission of social justice in the UU Service Committee?

I agree with the idea though the UUA would have to have an office that provided oversight to these satelite organizations. Perhaps oversight is the wrong word, but an office that checks credentials and outcomes etc.

Robin Edgar said...

"Right now, the UUA tries to be everything to everyone." NOT!

TheCSO said...

The UUA would have to be *very* careful about how much "oversight" it exercised - otherwise we're right back to having their functions entwined with the UUA. What I am suggesting is something more radical - that the UUA needs to let go. These shouldn't be satellite organizations. They should be organizations formed completely independently of the UUA by UUA member churches.

The dynamism of an organization is one measure of its health, yes, but so is its focus. Right now, the UUA needs to focus on its core functions, and let its member churches associate themselves if they wish on other issues. If we want to have true congregational polity, we need to get away from this '500 channels' approach and refocus the UUA on only the most core and inseperable aspects of Unitarian Universalism - if you can be UU without it, it shouldn't be part of the UUA.

Anonymous said...

Streamline the UUA? Fine, structural analysis should be regular and on going to prevent organizational arthritis. Prioritize function? Always a good idea and something that the Commissions on Appraisal does or should do regularly. Certainly expand that body to include more voices, including dissenters from “Boston autocracy.”

But if this is just another use of structural tinkering to mask the strangulation of a UUA voice in issues of public moral importance, count me out. I absolutely support a vigorous UU voice in the public square and note that well considered activism, while it may alienate some, actually persistently draws new folks into our churches and communities. The problem is, if you don’t like the activism, you won’t like those folks either.

Chalicechick said...

My issue is, if they come for the politics instead of the religion, will they be good and productive members?