Friday, February 03, 2006

Fresh UU bloggy goodness.

A few new UU blogs:

Turned up this site, the website of a British Unitarian Panentheist group.

I found my little UU heart sinking a few times when I read this, where a lady talks about some of her misgivings about her UU church.

A lady who has commented on that post writes:

And as genuine, died-in-the-wool LGBT person, I am sick of hearing how I should be UU. I don't want to go to some church that just wants my lesbian chic. I want to be part of church that is a church, doing what a church should do--welcome everyone. And while I do appreciate (especially since moving to the prairie where it can be harder to discern safe from unsafe spaces) the rainbow stickers on welcoming church doors, self-congratulation about how cool and hip UU's are on queer stuff icks me out.

Don't even get me started on a 99% white congregation doing Kwaanza. That's downright racist, if you ask me.


Also, this is CrallSpace, a nifty blog run by a UU. I'm linking to a post on UU evangelizing, a perennial topic of discussion aroung the UU blogosphere.



Robin Edgar said...

Not that I haven't pointed out such unwelcoming congregations and U*U tokenism to U*Us over the last decade or so. . .

Will Shetterly said...

Hmm. It's racist for whites to do Kwanzaa, but it's not racist if it's only for blacks? Color me confused.

Anonymous said...

HI, I'm the one who wrote the post you link to. I got your comment today and I appreciate it. Decided to come over and check out your site.

The comment that will shetterly says shows some of the well-meaning ignorance. It has to do with cultural appropriation. It is not really a good thing to be celebrating Kwanzaa when your congregation has done nothing to reach out and welcome black people into the congregation. To celebrate Kwanzaa as a bunch of white folks who don't even know a black soul and then pat yourselves on the back and say, "We're diverse, we did Kwanzaa!" is a bit racist, I think Shannon was saying.

I think it is okay if you have a few or even one person in the congregation who truly celebrates a certain ritual because it means something to them and their culture/religion personally. If they share this with the congregation, great. But we do a lot of work with homeless minorities, and then we go off and celebrate things like Kwanzaa without them there. Why is that? it makes me uncomfortable.

As for me and disability issues, a UU minister with CP (her name is Laura Thomas) recently wrote to me about a curriculum she wrote on the subject for an ARE class and suggested I teach it. She agrees with me that the misinformation and misjudgement in UUism is rampant around disability issues. I may very well try and teach her curriculum in the future. But as a minority, sometimes you just get TIRED of having to go through this and be the one who does all the teaching. Sometimes you just want a place you can go and feel welcomed without twisting everyones arm into it.

There is a lot of patting themselves on the back regarding the LGBT issues. It just makes the rest of us feel more on the outside.

Lisa (from

Jess said...

The founder of Kwanzaa created the holiday as a celebration of African culture - not a religious holiday, not the "Black Christmas," and certainly not for Caucasians to co-opt in the attempt to appear multi-cultural!

"Kwanzaa must and will remain essentially a cultural holiday which celebrates family, community and culture, stresses the producing, harvesting and sharing good in the world and invites us to meditate seriously on the wonder, good and awesome responsibility of being African in the world." - Maulana Karenga in a recent interview on BeliefNet (emphasis mine)

So, yeah, I have to say that I agree with Shannon (the commentor on Lisa's blog) - unless we want to go the route of "but we're all African deep down inside!"


One of my hot-button issues. Sorry.

Anonymous said...

Do most other churches do better than UUs? If not, do we expect UUs to do better than anyone else? why? If so, well, we have a lot of work to do.

If we could do services with the spirit and sound of a black Baptist church but the content of a UU church, we'd probably have more African-American people. Our staid, reserved, New-Englandish services don't appeal to -- well, to pretty much anyone who's used to livelier services.

Anonymous said...

On the subject of new blogs, I just discovered None So Blind, an interesting analysis of politics and morals, completely different than Lakoff's. Check it out:

Chalicechick said...

I wrote about my take on Kwanzaa here.

I really feel you on having to explain disability issues. My husband often comes off as really cranky. He's high functioning autistic. It comes down to whether it is worth explaining to people what they are doing wrong to stress him out.

Usually I don't.


Steve Caldwell said...

CC wrote:
"I really feel you on having to explain disability issues. My husband often comes off as really cranky. He's high functioning autistic. It comes down to whether it is worth explaining to people what they are doing wrong to stress him out."


When it comes to accessibility issues, I think we run into one of the problems with our congregational polity.

Our association of congregations can facilitate sharing of best practices in accessibility and accessibility awareness between member congregations. Our association can develop age-appropriate religious education materials that address accessibility issues. We can model how to do this well at UUA events like General Assembly. We can provide resources on this issue to assist congregational lay leaders.

But all of this assumes that the leadership in a particular local UU congregation is actually interested in accessibility issues. The most the UUA can do here is "suggest accessbility awareness." Our association has very little power to "command accessibility awareness."

At General Assembly last summer, the UUA provided free audio CDs titled "Drive Time Essays." There are 21 spoken word essays on various aspects of UU congregational life. One essay by Rev. Dr. Devorah Greenstein is simply titled "Accessibility." You can find it online here in mp3 audio and PDF formats:


One would think this resource would be very useful to congregational leaders in improving accessibility awareness.

But at least one UU has complained about it. Michael Durrell (the independed UU consultant and editor of the "UU Voice" magazine) wrote the following critical comments about the drive time essay on accessibility issues:

"Some listeners might also question the advice in regard to diversity – that UU congregations should reach out to people with neurological, psychological, and behavioral problems – as though local churches were medical clinics or mental health centers, equipped to serve such populations."

So ... if a well-connected UU lay leader doesn't see the need to welcome people with mental health issues, should we be surprised when our congregations' lay leaders have problems with this.

My own congregation's sanctuary has major accessibility issues. The sanctuary (built in the late 1980s) isn't wheelchair accessible. It's virtually impossible for a wheelchair-using minister to enter the sanctuary and move to the pulpit without the physical assistance of others (e.g. lifting up and down stairs). This isn't a historic building ... it was built recently without any thought towards accessibility.

LaReinaCobre said...

Steve - holy smokes on the Durrell comments. Hmm.

I would say we have to lead by example ....