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Blog roundup, Fall 2008
Online responses to 'UU World.'
Two bloggers took issue with William Doherty’s anti-consumerist stance in his Spring cover story, “Homegrown Unitarian Universalism.” Kinsi at “Spirituality and Sunflowers” responded with a post entitled “I Can Still Be Unitarian and Love Facebook, Starbucks, and Birthday Princesses.” “By trying to remove your kids from pop culture and mainstream society,” he wrote, “you will set their faith up for failure.” (April 28) At “The Journey,” Lizard Eater wrote, “I don’t live on the mountaintop. I live down in the suburbs. . . . Rather than encouraging people to leave the current mainstream world, why don’t we give them tools to find meaning in that world?” (April 28)
Richard Higgins’s report on the findings of the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life’s “U.S. Religious Landscape Survey” (“Three in a Thousand,” Summer 2008) drew attention from Kelsey Atherton at “Plastic Manzikert.” He interpreted the gap between the number of Americans who identify as Unitarians and the number who belong to UUA congregations as an indication that “the UUA is not meeting the needs of all Unitarians in the U.S.” (June 8)
Announcements this spring from Meadville Lombard Theological School about proposed changes to the UU seminary’s program garnered sharp criticism from UU bloggers. The blog discussion was sparked by David Pyle of “Celestial Lands,” who posted a student community newsletter critical of the plan. (May 27) Jess Cullinan at “Jess’s Journal” wrote: “On the public relations side of things, the school is touting their road ahead as nothing but positive. Underneath, however, is a painfully familiar story of opacity and stubbornness on the part of the administration.” (May 27) But the Rev. Chip Roush at “the yes church” advocated a wait-and-see attitude: “I am eager to hear the actual proposal, and will try to refrain from too-hasty judgment until then.” (May 30)
Bloggers provided ample commentary on this summer’s General Assembly. UU World covered GA with daily blog posts. Many bloggers reacted to a bylaw change allowing the Ministerial Fellowship Committee to terminate a minister’s fellowship for “incompetence,” in addition to “unbecoming conduct” or “other specified cause.”
The Rev. Christine Robinson of “iMinister” wrote, “[W]ithout carefully drawn guidelines, it could be a very dangerous new rule.” (June 29) Steve Caldwell at “Liberal Faith Development” favored the change. “[I]t seems funny to me that any professionals should be this concerned about protecting colleagues who are incompetent in their profession. A minister who demonstrates serial incompetence through several congregational postings does impact the public perception of ministry throughout the UUA.” (June 30)
Finally, the UUA Office of Information and Public Witness has launched a Blogging Resources Project to support bloggers in promoting UU ideas, congregations, and social justice programs. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.