Home / Issues / On the web, Fall 2007
Online responses to 'UU World.'
The Summer issue’s two stories on Buddhism generated a lot of buzz. At “Kuan Yin’s Chalice,” the Rev. Dr. Josh Snyder considered the issue of whether western Buddhism is so acculturated to the needs of its western practitioners that it can be called “Buddhism-lite.” “One person’s Buddhism-lite is another person’s Pure Land of Bliss,” he wrote. “Every book, every teacher, every sect and tradition contains within it a finger pointing to the moon. . . . We should not be attached to obsessing about the pointing finger . . . but rather seek the moon. . . Unitarian Universalism, Buddhism, these are all pointing fingers.” (kuanyinschalice.typepad.com, June 13)
At “The Hanif Blog,” Jaume de Marcos argued that UU Buddhism is much more UU than Buddhist: “It is not that UUs quietly evolve towards a ‘vague Buddhism’: it is Buddhism that is revisioned and contorted. . . in order to fit the UU way of being religious.” (thehanifblog.blogspot.com, June 15).
Rick Heller, who wrote our cover story on UU Buddhists, argued at “Transparent Eye” that UU Buddhism differs from Asian Buddhism in good ways. In a comment responding to de Marcos and Heller, Jeff W. writes, “I still feel that UU Buddhists are legitimate in their pursuit of a personal understanding of Buddhism, and that . . . UU Buddhism is indeed a form of Buddhism (as well as a form of UUism). Buddhism isn’t an ethnic religion like Judaism—it has been since the beginning a missionizing, world-oriented faith, and that has always both made it available to new groups and necessitated that new groups find ways to make it relevant in their own circumstances.” (transparenteye.net, June 24)
Bloggers provided on-the-scene coverage of the General Assembly, while others watched events from home. At “CLF Delegates’ Notes,” Church of the Larger Fellowship members Louise and Sean provided detailed first-person accounts of plenary sessions and the “Open Space” process (infopubs.blogspot.com). (Our coverage of the Open Space initiative begins on page 42.) Watching streaming video and reading others’ reports from home, the Rev. Scott Wells expressed concerns about the ways Open Space Technology was used at GA, drawing comments from several other bloggers to his entry, “The lost Open Space opportunity re-found” (boyinthebands.com). One commenter, Peter Bowden, liked Open Space and said the sessions he attended “allowed people in small congregations with a real need for lay ministry resources to meet each other, share resources, exchange contact info, and affirm the ministry model they aspire to.”
Several UU blogs don’t engage in argument but offer spiritual resources instead. The First Unitarian Church in Rochester, New York, has launched a companion blog to an adult spirituality program called “Wellspring: Soul Deepening for Unitarian Universalists” (uuwellspring.org). Jess Cullinan has set up a weekly inspiration site called “Best of UU: The Good News of Unitarian Universalism” featuring sermons, meditations, and essays gathered from across the Web (jesspages.net/bestofuu).
Other blogs offer resources for congregations. Anna Belle Leiserson, webmaster for the First UU Church in Nashville, writes “Faith and Web” about excellence in church websites and electronic communication (faithandweb.com). At “Share the Knowledge: Evangelism for Liberal Religion,” Dean offers publicity tips (sunoida.org/blog).