Tuesday, August 16, 2022

If an organization doesn’t stand for something, its members will fall for anything.

Some racial minorities have said they are drawn to UU’s beliefs but have difficulty fitting in with the dominant culture. One congregant wrote, “I don’t think segregation is intentional. It’s a matter of music, demographics, age, culture, worship style, etc.”

Cycleback, David. Against Illiberalism: A critique of illiberal trends in liberal institutions, with a focus on Unitarian Universalism (p. 16). Center for Artifact Studies. Kindle Edition. 

UU worship services for the most part are boring and appeal to WASPs. Even the gospel songs are sung at a plodding pace. There are exceptions and some of the larger UU churches such as All Souls in Tulsa Oklahoma offer different types of worship formats.

With people who have migrated to UU from other denominations or none there often are multiple preferences and not everyone can be pleased. In one congregation there was an ongoing conflict over whether applause was appropriate during the services. The minister was caught in the middle and there was a power struggle among the members of the worship committee which seeped into the congregation. 

It is interesting how these minor disagreements can poison a congregation leading to schism and estrangement. Without a strong minister willing to take a stand the wrangling continues with negative consequences.

There is little to no guidance from the UUA on such matters and so there is little uniformity or coherence in UU worship which is detrimental to a more universal identification with the denomination.

The decentralized governance structure of UU in which every congregation is self governing, liturgical coherence and denominational identification is compromised. If an organization doesn’t stand for something, then its members will fall for anything.

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