Monday, April 03, 2017

A lazy viewer’s guide to the UUA Candidates’ Forum with superfluous commentary because me.

Lots of opinions within.  If you disagree, um, put it on the internet.  That’s pretty much what the internet is for.   If you think I missed something, you’re probably right, point it out.  That’s one of the reasons I provided time stamps.  I haven’t endorsed anybody, but literally each candidate has been endorsed by someone I love and respect in UUism, so this is me writing what I see. 

For the love of Mike, share this if you care about UUA inside baseball.  If you don’t, writing it was a huge waste of time, admittedly time when I was in a hotel room on a business trip anyway:

 27:22 Candidates actually start talking.  Starts with the Rev. Pupke.

39:30 Chalicechick first realizes that the Rev. Frederick Gray looks a lot like Velma from Scooby Doo.  This is NOT a criticism.  But she spends the rest of her argument talking about anti-racism and the conservative climate in America.  Whether this should legit be the first priority or is playing to the crowd with topical issue, or both, is something I still haven’t figured out.

43:50: Candidates first start answering questions.  First question is a request for “Pastoral Advice” in the wake of President Morales’ resignation.  I like this question in that all three are pastors and presumably all actually WROTE pastoral letters to their own congregations.  So this gives a chance to show of pastoral style, something I thought was lacking in the Rev. Morales.  The response after is the Rev. Miller, giving what sounds more like institutional priorities than pastoral advice.  It’s not a bad answer.

47:10 The Rev. Frederick Gray gives what sounds like solid pastoral advice to this layperson.

 49:28 The Rev. Pupke says that she’s not going to give pastoral advice, then gives pastoral advice.  What she has to say is good and on some level inspiring, but that part was weird.

51:48 The Rev. Frederick Gray’s answer begins to a question about the role of both the UUA and the congregations in the role for Black Lives.   She says good things, but makes no significant distinction between the work of the association and work of the congregations. 

54:00  The Rev. Pupke’s answer begins with a shoutout to polity and she keeps that theme throughout

56:20 The Rev. Miller brings up a specific example of the Black Lives Matter movement’s working with her own congregation and mostly focuses on the congregational level.

 58:46 Three part question: 
1.    How are you dismantling your own white supremacy?
2.    How will you help the UUA dismantle ITS own white supremacy?
3.    How will you help congregations and congregants to dismantle white supremacy?

59:02 The Rev. Pupke’s answer begins with a weird lesbian joke, then reads “the Richmond Pledge” which sounds good, I guess.  But, that was her answer to the whole question.  Lesbian joke and Richmond pledge.  So, yeah.

1:00:48  The Rev. Miller credibly hits all three parts of the question.  Nicely done.

1:04:00  The Rev. Frederick Gray talks about dismantling her white privilege by getting arrested in Arizona and the police harassment that followed.  Not sure I entirely get that, but her sincerity is clear.  Answered some on the UUA part.

1:06:08  Question about the idea of adding an eighth UU principle around anti-racism.  If you’ve talked UUism with me at any length, you know that any candidate who was like “Let’s throw out the seven principles all together” would have gotten my vote.   Also, part of the question was “where does this rank among goals you’d like to achieve as president?” which in part makes no sense since the wording of the Seven Principles is a GA decision and doesn’t really fall into a president’s power except in the most indirect way.  But all three candidates ignored the “ranking it as a goal” part anyway so I guess they get that. 

1:06:48 The Rev. Miller supports it, but is focused on the process of changing the seven principles rather than exactly what a rewritten set of principles would look like.

1:08:42 The Rev. Frederick Gray supports the inclusion, but then starts in on her leadership vision for reasons I don’t get, then kinda circles back around to the principle in a vague way.

1:11:14 The Rev. Pupke wants the eighth principle a lot and promises it, more or less.  Then she implies that the seven principles are a “highly revered document” (sigh) and gives a shoutout to The Rev. McDonald Ladd (yay!) in the same 30 seconds.  So I will call that a draw.

1:13 or so: the candidates have a weird little Chip-and-Dale-style “after you, no, after YOU” exchange about who gets to be the first one to answer the next question.

1:14:17  Question about if there’s a budget shortfall a couple of years from now, what will their top three priorities be

1:14:26 The Rev. Frederick Gray:
1.    Justice and Anti-Racism
2.    Transitions and ministerial settlement
3.    Standing on the side of love
But also, raising money to FIX the budget shortfall.  No, wait, that’s her first priority.  Which actually seems like the best answer to me.

1:17:03 The Rev. Pupke points out we’re IN a budget shortfall now, and pushes for congregations to be Fair Share.
1.    Training to me an ARAOMC* organization.  Then she talks about her logo, it was weird.
2.    Begin a more articulate messaging of who we are and what we do
Then she says those are her three priorities.  Maybe the fair share thing was supposed to be one.  Dunno. 

1:19:15  The Rev Miller begins with what sounds like a shoutout to having done a Hillary-Clinton-style “listening tour,” which I, for one, find endearing. Her priorities:
1.    Fundraising on both the UUA and congregational levels, since congregations often cut funding of the UUA because they are having to choose between cutting staff and cutting the contribution.  Good point
2.    Supporting ministry in the field.
3.    Empowering the congregations to be involved in “holistic social justice” which is way less hippie than the phrase suggests.

1:22 Question is, essentially, “how much of the UUA president job is a CEO and how much is being a prophetic voice?  Also, how are you going to lead the senior staff?” 

1:22:18  The Rev. Pupke has lead lots of stuff, but credits those beneath her with growth and success.  She wants to “liberate’” the UUA.  I have no idea what this means.  She wants to build trust and get lots of buy-in.  I think this all means she’s Team CEO on that question.

1:24:40  The Rev Miller:  There are four main aspects:
1.    The prophetic voice within the faith
2.    The voice to the world
3.    The CEO
4.    Fundraising. 
And she hits her experience with the last two.  The Rev. Miller is good at bullet points and breaking things down.  If ministry ever doesn’t work out for her, she’d do well in law school.  Anyway, she didn’t directly say CEO either, but her answer strongly implied it.

1:27:06 The Rev. Frederic Gray combines the Rev. Miller’s first two categories but otherwise accepts them.  Then she was like “the UUA doesn’t need a better manager,” with which I tend to disagree, but said some good things about leadership.  She talked about setting a collaborative culture.  She’s not as strongly team CEO and seems to have taken the question as primarily being about the CEO style

1:30:00 Question is like “I’m curious as to if you’ve given thought to evangelical-style growth” and then goes into church planting. 

1:30:12ish  The Rev. Alison Miller is highly pro-planting.

1:33:10 The Rev. Frederick Gray is less of a church planting fan and wants to shore up the congregations we’ve got and focus on mission.    

1:36 The Rev. Pupke gave the “have you given any thought to this obvious thing” aspect the snarky tone it deserved.  High five, Rev. Pupke.  Her suggestion is that we show up for social justice and grow through our commitment to our values.

·    * Anti-racism, Anti-oppression, and Multiculturalism” No judgment, I had to look it up too.  Explain your acronyms, people.