UU Culture: My thoughts

I spent the morning reading the UUWorld collection of responses to the UUCulture question raised in response to Paul Rasor’s and Rosemary Bray McNatt’s reflection in the previous issue.  Now, I did the reading for a few reasons: one is I need to do some writing around the issues of Multicultrualism in the UU culture today, if possible, and the ideas intrigued me. Another reason is that, well, the issues intrique me–not professionally (as in reason one) but in my personal church life. And three, it was good practice for me to spend some time with words on a page–especially words that challenged me.

So, in a nutshell, here’s my response to the issue: I like broccoli.  I really do. It is one of the few vegetables I see on a plate and I say, “yes, I like broccoli.” But if I were to be shown a plate of only broccoli every Sunday meal, I would tire of it and move on.

In this analogy, reason is broccoli, in the event you didn’t get it.  I like reason. I like the intellect.  But I also like stories. And I love music. And I love it when the mashed potatoes and the broccoli mix up together–with butter and/or gravy.  But here’s the other thing: I don’t think stories and music are the butter and the starch that we can all do without.  For me, they are as essential and nutritious as a well-reasoned argument. 

And so, my point is this: we need to create worship services that feed all our senses and help more people in on the good news that is our faith.

Our congregation is one of those that is struggling around these issues of inclusion. Our issue has revolved around including children in the ENTIRE worship service. How to get the congregation to see that when the worship service is lively, so is the church?  From my vantage point, making the worship service lively doesn’t even have to change WHAT people say, just HOW they say it.  Maybe i’m reading the whole issue through my little lens–a lens colored by the struggles we have seen in our little neck of the woods and a lens that is less about the color of people’s skin and more about the energy they exude when they are part of something that is getting them to fire on all cylinders–not just the mind, not just the heart, not just the body or the hands–but all together with a desire to create positive change.  This is the culture I’d like to see us pay attention to.  We’ve got the head part handled (for the most part), let us move on and engage the rest.

And, in order to give a very last mixed metaphor (as if I havent’ given enough): Give us broccoli, but give us roses, too.

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2 comments

  1. You’ve been writing! Me likes.

    The Deistette and I went on a road trip up to Dallas over the weekend and she read some of the article to me. My thoughts on it boil down to the old analogy of putting the cart before the horse.

    I think if we focused on being a religion, on a liturgical calendar and delivered meaningful services (like you said stories, music and add media to the mix) and concrete messages that gave people hope that the problems they face in life can be eased, the other stuff would come. Ministers and other official types wonder aloud why we don’t have enough brown, black, yellow and red people in the pews. There is always some cause du jour that we UUs feel we should rally around. Why don’t we try being a religion… not a movement, not a social justice center, not an activist rallying point. A religion.

    Sure we need to be aware of how we can make the world a better place and do outreach to get people in to hear the Good News that no matter who you are, you are worthy and accepted. But there has to be Good News to be given instead of a college lecture on oppression, history lesson of Easter or viewpoints from attendance of the last gay marriage rally, otherwise we may as well scratch out the word “church” from our signs and scribble in “community center”.

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