Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Repel Less Newcomers

Are visitors to Unitarian Universalist blogs visitors to Unitarian Universalism? I know that some folks who know me but don't know Unitarian Universalism are now seeing what they can find out about it from our blogs.

When I asked people what they like about Unitarian Universalism or more precisely what their congregations do right I'm mostly interested in best practices and in hearing people's enthusiasm for their churches and Unitarian Universalism. I really was not commenting on the whole Fix Unitarian Universlism discussion going on in the UU Blogosphere. In general, I think that discussion has been better in tone than many of us often get. If I were to take the time to refer to Robert Bellah and how that conversation reflected the tendency of liberals to be more focused on questions of process than substantive justice. I'm personally much more concerned about people of color feeling that there is no future for them in the UU ministry or the stories I hear from people who feel like their congregation has no place for them since they have been laid off and can't make their pledge than I am about the UUA Washington Office or anything else that goes on at 25 Beacon.

Mostly I have been thinking of a different online Unitarian Universalist that I am a part of and my feeling that our interactions there are roughly equivalent to the foyer or social hall of a congregation. I took the line from Ghostbusters II "Egon... you're scaring the straights..." because I could see newcomers starting to flee from the way people were acting.

I recognize the inherent dilemna. On the one hand, the web is a very handy way for us to have intra-UU conversations with all of our buzzwords and bickering over minute details of process. But for many, our blogs will be the first impression people get of Unitarian Universalism.

For these people I say again, Unitarian Universalists are the sons and daughters of those that struggled for abolition, public education, suffrage, human treatment for the mentally ill, civil rights and peace. We are also the heirs of a faith based on reason, freedom and love. There is room for you and you are welcome. Please contact any one of us or your local congregation if you have any questions. We tend to be a little sheepish about sounding evangelical, but really we love to talk about Unitarian Universalism even if we might wait for you to ask us first.

6 Comments:

At 4:55 AM, Blogger Bill Baar said...

I don't know if Unitarians were at the forefront of abolitionism. I know our Church in Geneva Illinois fired their minister for preaching too much abolitionism.

I think Evangelicals beat use as a denomination when it came to abolitionist fervor. We were too well heeled a faith with investments in the south to risk a war over it.

 
At 9:53 AM, Blogger Chalicechick said...

I'm not touching that one, Bill.

Jfield, I think you make some good points and I responded on my blog.

CC

 
At 12:24 PM, Blogger fausto said...

There were Unitarians on both sides of the abolition issue. Theodore Parker, please say hello to John C. Calhoun.

The first minister of my church, in Massachusetts, even owned two slaves himself (but we weren't Unitarian yet).

 
At 1:14 PM, Blogger fausto said...

Notwithstanding the foregoing quibble (quibbling is a favorite UU sport), if you're someone who is curious about UUism and happened upon this thread, you should know that jfield is so right about this that it is worth repeating verbatim:

We are also the heirs of a faith based on reason, freedom and love. There is room for you and you are welcome. Please contact any one of us or your local congregation if you have any questions.

 
At 4:22 PM, Blogger The Emerson Avenger said...

I could hardly agree more. . . ;-)

:But for many, our blogs will be the first impression people get of Unitarian Universalism.

For these people I say again, Unitarian Universalists are the sons and daughters of those that struggled for abolition, public education, suffrage, human treatment for the mentally ill, civil rights and peace. We are also the heirs of a faith based on reason, freedom and love. There is room for you and you are welcome. Please contact any one of us or your local congregation if you have any questions. We tend to be a little sheepish about sounding evangelical, but really we love to talk about Unitarian Universalism even if we might wait for you to ask us first.

 
At 9:04 PM, Blogger Jess said...

A new page, partially inspired by your post here - Best of UU

Got anything to add? ;-)

 

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