Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Obligatory, gratuitous Unitarian Jihad post

It was rather interesting being offline at the Pacific Central District Assembly in the bay area just as the Unitarian Jihad column came out in the San Francisco Chronicle. I had been avoiding being online because of eyestrain. People were circulating xeroxed copies of the article like the web did not even exist. Demographically, I'd say boomers liked it, older folks did not want to be a joke, and most folks younger than me had not seen it in the paper or online yet.

I have my issues with it, but in general I think it is a very funny parody of UU culture. There is one section that I differ with most:

We are Unitarian Jihad, and our motto is: "Sincerity is not enough." We have heard from enough sincere people to last a lifetime already. Just because you believe it's true doesn't make it true. Just because your motives are pure doesn't mean you are not doing harm.

Would that this were true. If there was one disfunctional belief that contributes to worst excesses of contemporary psychotherapeutic expressive individualism in UU culture, I believe it is precisely the idea that sincerity is enough. We pass resolutions, sign internet petitions, attend solemn vigils and vote every other year for candidates and pat ourselves on the back for our earnest sincerity with only the vaguest concern for the effectiveness of our actions.

There is the old joke about the recently departed UU who chooses going to a discussion about heaven over actually going to heaven. Sadly I fear too many UUs would choose to make a sincere personal statement about the ills of the world rather than actually doing something to bring about justice.

Fortunately, some of my favorite UUs are not in thrall with the idea that equanimity and self expression are more important that effectiveness. Just because our motives our pure does not mean we are accomplishing anything.

Oy Vey, maybe Mr. Crankypants has taken over my blog now.


At 6:29 AM, Anonymous evil chutney said...

Just because our motives our pure does not mean we are accomplishing anything.

Only someone whose motives aren't pure enough would say something like that.

At 4:48 AM, Anonymous David said...

I thought you said you differed with the quoted passage. It sounds like you agree with it. If that's the case, I agree with you: sincerity is not enough.


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