I had this grand blog post in mind — but the one that gets written is the only one that counts. So my point.
Does the UUA’s elected leadership have it out for any entity that can be the least rival? Long past is the option for Board member dissent. Gone are the independent affiliates and theÂ organizedÂ youth program (which had its own problems) and now the president has made odd rumblings about the directly-elected Commission on Appraisal. You rarely hear about other non-UUA entities in even a cooperative role in UUA publications, save the seminaries and they’re hardly in a position to fight. There’s no independent press, apart from the blog should they so count.
And if so, why? Perhaps because the UUA does relatively little. Dismiss internal functions and you’re left mostly with the town-square functions of General Assembly (actively deprecated), the denominational magazine and ministerial settlement. How settlement persists in its modified-historic form is a wonder; perhaps the ministerial college is too skiddish to rock the boat, but at the same time new modes of communication, the rise of a consulting class and a glut of ministers is sure to change that.
Oh, and the Beacon Press persists, which curiously doesn’t seem to be hit by the same staff cuts other parts get, but God help them if they start losing money again. They certainly do little for in-house publications needs.
I can’t escape the image of a fragile coordinating body ill-suited to adapt to cultural changes. In such an environment, it has to be easier to foster emotional ties thanÂ programmaticÂ ones. But for how long? Sounds like a fool’s errand to me.
If I had a General Assembly vote and a pastorate, I’d likely oppose anything backed by the Board, cultivate informal and newÂ programmaticÂ networks, and re-orient missional giving (read: “dues”) based on results over legacy. Oh, and encourage the Commission on Appraisal to change its study subject and review the Board itself.