Sunday, August 1, 2021

The Gadfly Papers - If you don't know where you're going, any road will take you there.

If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will take you there.

In the third essay in The Gadfly Papers, “Let’s Be Reasonable” Rev. Dr. Todd Eklof provides a crash course in logic and a critique of Robin DiAngelo’s book “White Fragility” and its misuse by those in UUA leadership who argue that the UUA is racist.

Eklof’s effort to ‘be reasonable” and appeal to a sense of rationality and logic falls on deaf ears of people who don’t have the ears to hear. Jesus says, Let those with the ears to hear, hear. Not happening. At least not anytime soon, with those at pre-rational levels of thinking kicking out and marginalizing those with rational and post modern ways of thinking.

It seems that Peter Morales and Scott Taylor jumped ship when the waters got turbulent, and according to the Fifth Principle Project more ministers are leaving the UU Ministerial Association every day.

In my short involvement in Unitarian Universalism over the last 16 years it seems like schism, abandonment, and rejection are the go to coping mechanisms when conflict occurs in Unitarian Universalism. The inability to resolve conflict is the major stumbling block for the denomination and has contributed to its stagnation, paralysis, and lack of growth.

Until UU creates conflict resolving mechanisms within its congregations and the Association, it will continue to struggle and dissipate. Perhaps a new denominational structure will have to be created which has a good balance between hierarchical authority and respect for congregational governance. Is that possible or are the two things antithetical? The Roman Catholic Church has been doing it for over 2,000 years.

The last thing to be considered that Eklof seems to miss in his critique is the lack of a meaningful mission for the UUA and many of its congregations. It seems to me to be first and foremost a social club with fellowship and civic participation a main theme much like Rotary, Kiwanis, Lions, and the Elks. Second, many congregations and the UUA seem to adopt social justice agendas as if they were social agencies advocating for societal betterment just like any secular social service and social justice agency. Third, the facilitation of spiritual growth of members and society seems to be a forgotten activity and component of its mission and is addressed only marginally if at all.

The failure to pursue the mission of spiritual development appears to be a lack of theological training for clergy, and education and support for laity. The perennial theology is rarely discussed or raised as a topic worthy of UU time and energy. In this marginalization of its spiritual mission,  UU fails in its primary function in society.

Without a clear sense of mission at the Association and the congregational level, UU will continue to wander in the desert of our post modern society with no compass to guide its members who then will peel off and look for truth and meaning elsewhere.

As the old proverb says, “If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will take you there.” And the second proverb, “If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything.”

God bless Rev. Dr. Todd Eklof for his courage and erudition for speaking up and bringing our attention to some of the problems in UUA. He has apparently gone against the grain, upset the able cart, distrubed the status quo and got his ass kicked out of the UUA and UUMA. He seems to be one of the few people who really care about the denomination and is willing to put his career and integrity on the line for it.

Thanks again!

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