Current Issues in Unitarian Universalism is the title of my sermon for the upcoming week. I’m really excited about it and most of what I’ll talk about comes from my enjoyable year or so reading UU blogs, and a little from what I learn about/hear about in divinity school.
I would love to see folks all over the country do more sermons like this one in order that we can feel more connected as a movement/denomination/religion. I know that at the church where I am a student intern minister and at my home congregation it would be easy to be very involved in the congregation and really have very little sense of Unitarian Universalism as a whole/as a coherent movement.
If, as I am, we are concerned about growing at least some (okay, or at least not shrinking) it would seem that we would need to have more of a sense of the association/denomination that we are a part of. I’m all for congregational polity, but I’d like to see a stronger sense of people feeling excited to belong to Unitarian Universalism as a whole, rather than only to their congregation.
I think Protestant denominations need a little less of this since it would be hard NOT to sense that you are part of a big movement called Protestant Christianity, and I think there is absolutely no risk of Catholics not feeling like they are not part of a big movement headed up by the lovely Pope Benedict XV. Plus, if you are Presbyterian (or Methodist or whatever), you know what Presbyterian churches in Florida or New Hampshire or Nevada do, in general, and of course if you are Catholic you know that masses look more or less the same. With Unitarian Universalists, things can be soooo different that you might not recognize another church’s liturgy or they may not even have one. All of this is a long way of saying that I think there ARE issues that we face as a religious/spiritual movement, and there are things that unite us. But perhaps more needs to be said in our congregations so that we can understand what these shared concerns are.
If you were going to do a sermon on this, what issues would you highlight?
Friends, I am pleased to point out a report on progressive political strategy recently released by The Commonwealth Institute, a think tank in Cambridge, MA. If you have any interest in real, substantive change in U.S. politics toward more fair, just, and responsive government, take a look at the report. I believe thinking about actual strategy (rather than just, “Our strategy is to win.”) is so important. The report is meant to outline what strategic thinking is going on out there in the progressive world – sort of a snapshot of what is currently being done.
According to The Commonwealth Institute, “The main goal of this report is to hold a mirror up for American progressives and provide a reflection of the state of progressive strategic thought. At a minimum, it gives an overview of the field, provides some clarifications and hopefully a better orientation and basis for strategic development.”
The authors define what they mean by strategy and distinguish it from operations and tactic and they explain the six components necessary for a fully articulated strategy. They note that, “Whenever possible we have chosen to let strategists speak for themselves, either carefully abstracting from their work or directly quoting. We avoid making judgments as to the viability or even the coherency of strategies. We do not compare and contrast, but rather aim to present the strategic components systematically so that comparisons by the reader are facilitated.”
Looking forward to hear what folks think.
(Full disclosure: Ahem… My partner is the main author of the report, but this is no way diminishes the fact that it is a really important thing to be thinking about or that it is a really well written, clearly articulated, coherent assessment of strategic thinking on the left. I would still point it out even if I didn’t live with the author and hadn’t discussed the ideas contained in report over dinner every night of the past year.)
Olivia and Phineas would like to go together and Theo and Emerson. Adoption fee applies – adoption through Second Chance Shelter in Jamaica Plain. (Note that when I imported my blog from Blogger to WordPress somehow the captions and pictures did not line up correctly and I don’t have the time/expertise to fix them. Sorry about that.)
All the kittens together
Phineas after rolling in some catnip
Olivia the princess
Theo and Emerson taking a nap
I tried to post this IN my blog so you could watch it here, but something was not working and it won’t let me. But I SO encourage you to watch this if you want to laugh. I thought it was unusually funny.