Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Book Review - The Gadfly Papers - What's wrong with Unitarian Universalism


The Gadfly Papers: Three Inconvenient Essays by One Pesky Minister by Todd Eklof is a very interesting collection of essays about what troubles Unitarian Universalism in our current times.

I found it very validating as Rev. Dr. Eklof points out several of the dysfunctional dynamics which plague the UUA and many UU churches.

In the first essay, Eklof, to put it bluntly, writes that policial correctness is killing us, and forcing us into identity politics which diminishes the importance of our shared humanity.

In the second essay, Eklof argues that it may be time for a divorce because the merger of Unitarians and Universalists has not served the NRM, New Religious Movement, well leaving its members and outsides confused about our identity, mission, and vision. In other words, Eklof writes that we have lost our way because we have not remembered our history and without a sense of our history we have no joint vision of our future. Amen! I have sat through enough incoherent and irrelevant sermons to last me for the rest of my life.

In the third and last essay, Eklot argues from a position of scholastic logic how the brouhaha over the hiring controversy back in 2017 leading to the resignation of the UUA President, Peter Morales, and several of his staff, was based not on sound human resource management policies and ethics but on identity politics and inbred conflicts of interest when a board member wanted a job as a paid staff person and cried foul when she wasn't selected for the job.

I was already on the edge when it came to my committment to Unitarian Universalism because I have felt for many years that its governance structure left a lot to be desired as well as its lack of a clear mission and vision for its organizational efforts.

I don't like Eklof's cute and self-denigrating title. His critique is substantive and it amounts to more than just being a gadfly and his being "pesky." He is a deep thinker and a skilled writer and anyone who cares about Unitarian Univeralism should give his book a serious read.

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