The biggest cultural divide among Unitarian Universalists (it seems to me) is over the question of whether of our religious movement and institutions are inherantly healthy or not. I suppose the yes crowd is larger because the UUA culture is so hard to change, and leaving (or being quiet) is an easier option for the "no" crowd. That, and some quarters are more defensive about criticism than others. (Meadville Lombard and Starr King -- the theological schools -- have some of the touchier stakeholders, for instance.)
I used to want to change and improve Unitarian Universalist institutions, but you can only run up against bristle-laden defenders and entrenched interests so long. In time, when you find productive and confident institutions or movements, you want to participate with them.What's left?Â An internal focus that begins to look a bit like self-obsession, or worse, self-pity.
- Anti-racism (as an end, within congregations) is a more important than forming new congregations.
- Defining basic Unitarian Universalism is a normative rhetorical flouish in our preaching.
- The dogged adoption of shop-worn models. (Take, for instance, the Carver Model.)
So instead of trying to fix anything, the most I can manage is to identify and praise those who seem to have something better to give. I was thinking about the healthiest, most productive and most interesting systems among Unitarian Universalists.
Can anyone else add some high-functioning signs of life?