In the report’s concluding remarks, Rev. Paul N. Carnes, who would later be elected President of the UUA, stated, “religious liberalism has little to meet the challenge of today's need, or win our own personal need, if all it offers is a casual ‘Join us and you can believe anything you want to’—as if religious convictions were to be left to such ephemeral judges as whim and wish!”
Eklof, Todd. The Gadfly Papers: Three Inconvenient Essays by One Pesky Minister pp.71-72
When Rev. Dr. Eklof quoted Rev. Carnes, it made me laugh as I remember the first UU church I got involved with around 2005. I had attended several times and after a service asked the part time minister what I had to do to join the church. He said, “Sign the book.”
I said, “What?”
He said, “Just sign the book.”
I said, “What book?”
He said, “The membership book.”
I said, “Are there any classes or instructions regarding the qualifications for membership?”
“No, just sign the book,” was all he said.
I thought to myself, “What the hell kind of a church is this?”
Now looking back I don’t know whether it is more funny or cruel. I think it is a sign of ministerial incompetence. I am reminded of Groucho Marx’s comedic statement that he didn’t think he would want to be a member of any country club that would admit any person like himself into membership.
What kind of a church would just take anybody into a covenantal relationship without even explaining to the prospective member what that relationship might involve? More was required for me to join Rotary that to join a UU church.
No wonder UU is dying and can’t attract and retain committed members in meaningful covenantal relationships. Is it a matter of easy come, easy go? If we don’t stand for something, we will fall for anything.