I got one of those "if you forgot to pay your dues, disregard this" letters from the Unitarian Universalist Ministers Association. They're asking for $225, and I won't be paying. A member of the Exec I ran into reminded me (so did the letter) there's a 75% hardship waver, but I told her it isn't paying (though that's a lot of money) but wondering what services the UUMA provides that justfies the cost. I sighed after a read it, not angry but frustrated and . . . well, hell, yes I'm angry because the ministerial college needs all the help it can get.
Even when I was in a parish, I didn't think the pre-GA workshops were that compelling, and the publications are minimal. The best reason I heard was -- in so many words -- "you ought to." And that holds no water with me.
Chapter dues are astronomical, too, and now that I'm in a Day Job I haven't had a chance to attend a meeting in almost two years. I don't miss them on the whole and only two or three programs -- one was by a locally-resident member of the Commission on Appraisal -- stood out. That said, do you think I've gotten a phone call from any chapter member in that time? Even to say, "Wells, you cheapskate, where's the check?" Nope. (I do get general emails about rallies to attend or wedding coverage.) I don't want hand holding, but perhaps someone might be interested in what happend to me. Perhaps they all read this blog and already know.
Not that chapters have much in common with one another, but on the whole I've found official collegiality to be pretty cliquish, and as a former high school dweeb about two decades on, I can tell you that doesn't hold any water either. Lord the blogosphere is so healthy.
So tell me -- because I really am a team player at heart -- what does the UUMA do that justifies the cost and the psychic room (the sat-upon franchise, to use the idiom) that excludes a different organization that might better fill its role?