Make that no more Rev. Mr. Nice Guy. I’ll continue to hammer on with what’s wrong in our general fellowship.
There’s been some — and shall be more — action by bloggers I respect to talk about what they love about Unitarian Universalism now that what they don’t love about Unitarian Universalism has been aired. I encourage all to resist this urge.
I’ve seen it before at conferences, between friends, via mailing lists, in print: a moment of critique (without productive reform) makes some people uneasy and a charge of disloyalty or lovelessness gets laid at the accusers. This causes them to back up, swear their love and fealty. Nothing changes, except it is another nail in the coffin for those who do want things to change. The message is thus: niceness is more valued than effectiveness. Feh.
We read about denominations with real, core-level conflict. Somehow they hold together, and if they didn’t, I imagine the bigger pieces would survive. On the other hand, we’re still haunted by our biggest dust-up and that was in 1968. We relive, replay, and even celebrate it. I have some grey hair and Oil of Olay’s trademark “first signs of aging” and that was still a full year before I was born. The current commission on “what happened in Fort Worth” is an echo of, and gives it more energy that seems necessary. (Were that we had such passion for church staff health insurance or church planting. Or heck, I’d take affordable GAs.)
It is no solution, but I think we need to keep unapologetic and creative reform-making front and center. Not every idea is good or workable. Indeed, few are. I’d settle for one. But we need to break the habit of thinking we’re disruptive or disloyal for the effort. The opposite seems far more true.