January 29, 2006

Diversity in Community

We went to church today, as we do every Sunday the children are home, and the occassional Sunday they are not. I knew in the midst of the service I would blog about it. On my way to blog about it or talk myself out of blogging about it, I ran across the UUpdates - UU Blog Awards (Thanks to Denise who Spurled them). I thought I would peek at which single entries were nominated. I figured I would be interested in the Peacebang and ChaliceBlog nominees. This title caught my eye though: Never Say Never To Your Traveling Self: Curiosity Turned Into a Rant: On Christianity and UUism. You see I am a Christian sort of woman, BIG C as opposed to the "little c" our interim minister is going on about of late. But, there I am, a good number of Sunday mornings each year, at the local UU. (More on the one that caught my eye at the very end)

Today's sermon was about the UUA Commission on Appraisal Engaging Theological Diversity report. The interim minister rambled, my mind wandered. I get a bit tired of the analysis of every little blink and mutter at UU fellowships. Of course, wandering minds mean I get my own special sermon in my head. Ok, that sounds a bit weird. What I mean is I tend to take some bit of what she is saying and work out what I would say if I were going to speak on this topic. Of course, I am no minister, and if I was, I doubt I would be a Unitarian minister. I am a blogger though, so my sermons such as they are turn into blog posts.

One of the questions addressed (vaguely) was whether UU folk can actually be a community of diverse beliefs. Now, I was tempted to jump up in some evangelical fury style as seen on tv and say "Yes, people, YES, diversity and community can happen. It does happen. Hallelujah!" (I didn't do this. My misbehavior in church tends to run towards fidgeting and making faces.)

After the congregation got over their dead faints and/or hysterical nervous laughter, this is what I would tell them. Look at online community. Look at blogs in particular. There is untold diversity in blogs. We read them. We write them. We form community.

Now granted, I may be more at home commenting on some blogs than others, but that doesn't mean I am not reading others that are way different in their beliefs and practices of ALL SORTS OF THINGS. In fact, I rather enjoy them. Yeah, I am more likely to comment on Badger's blog or Three Kid Circus. That doesn't mean I don't rather enjoy Shiny Shiny.

It does mean that lesbian feminist moms with incredible children might not be on my daily reads, even though if I were to be pegged into a blog community, that is what folks would expect. Sometimes shared demographic doesn't mean appealling.

Blogs form community. Blogs are diverse. It can be done.

The other question we were told to think on...like it was some homework assignment for truculent children was this: Why do you attend a UU service?

My answer is this, the same as Hafidha Sofía in her nominated post:
I want to hear from people who know and from people who believe. Even if I disagree with them, I will know more about myself after an hour with them, than a whole month of essays about 'celebrating spontaneity.'

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Denise said...

OK what bugged me about today's sermon is that it was not about diversity - it was about increasing membership or more to the point why UUs can't seem to manage this feat. That's what bugs me.

And what really bugs me about that is the group is so hung up on finding a creed that they're missing the bigger picture and that is the age issue. The old folks aren't relinquishing the reins to the younger folks. They aren't giving an inch and they've got the numbers to make the vote for every single issue and decision that would bring the younger generation in.

Is there a UU congregation that has a solid membership of 20 somethings? That's a UU I'd like to see and that's the UU that every damn fellowship in the country that's really interested in increasing membership should model.

It's not ours, that's for sure. And it's certainly not my mother's.

Quit hiding the real question in topics like creating community from diversity. It's dumb. And better yet, quit preaching sermons about increasing membership. That's even dumber.

TW said...

I think this is where you suffer from not having grown up in a church. All congregations do this. It is what they do. Granted UUs feel the need to intellectualize it because that is what they do.