Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Self-appointed justice monitors of the world

I didn't write a sermon this last Sunday. Instead I preached on some notes I had made about my experience during the previous week at GA. I spoke about our new President, the Standing on the Side of Love campaign, and the vote not to move forward with a revision of our Principles and Purposes. And of course I talked about Multiculturalism.

One of the points I made was the sense that although Unitarian Universalism is 90% white (and has been consistently despite decades of seeking to be more diverse) our whiteness is a product not of racism but of over-attachment to a particular culture, a culture that has taken over the center of our faith and pushed aside the broader principles of Unitarianism (one God working in partnership with creation) and Universalism (divine love for all that makes a universal community out of all existence).

In my talk I described that culture in several ways as I encountered it at GA.

We're complainers, suspicious of power, always thinking each one of us has a better way individually and unwilling to accede authority unquestioningly.

We're tentative with each other about spiritual language and action but deeply needful of spiritual solace and somehow we know that this is the place to seek it and keep trying, even if we don’t know how to do it.

We're in our heads instead of our bodies. You can tell a UU by looking because we’re not body conscious, thin, (maybe because we eat vegetarian) but not sexy; ill-fitting clothes, tee-shirts with slogans, women don’t wear dresses or make-up, men don’t wear coats or ties except for the occasional ironic bow tie. Natural fibers and earth tones. Lots of buttons on vests and hats. Aging naturally. No hair color. Messy hair (men and women). No jewelry (except chalice jewelry). Not ostentatious.

And we're self-appointed justice monitors of the world – and so small and spread so thin that we’re barely effective.

As an example of that last point I used the list of 6 Actions of Immediate Witness, all six being proposed and approved by the delegates, all six being important causes. But is this really our job? Why these six and not 60 others we could have mentioned? Does the vote really accomplish anything other than a momentary ego-satisfaction of proving how caring and aware we think we are?

Here are the six issues we approved:

AIW-1 Advocate Pending Legislation Toward Clean/Verified Elections in the U.S.,
AIW-2 U.S. Ratification of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty,
AIW-3 In Support of America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act,
AIW-4 Support Bolivian UUs Struggling for Justice and Human Rights,
AIW-5 U.S.-Sponsored Torture: A Call for a Commission of Inquiry,
AIW-6 Oppose Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity-based Violence in Iraq.


Robin Edgar said...

"Does the vote really accomplish anything other than a momentary ego-satisfaction of proving how caring and aware we think we are?"

Who do you think you are anyway?

Some sort of self-appointed justice monitor of the U*U World or something? ;-)

I thought that was *my* job.

Great post Rick!

You've got U*Us pegged. . .

Can I offer you a commission in the U*U Jihad Navy? :-)

spiritualastronomer said...

Ricky, you make some excellent points, voicing some of the concerns I have with this particular faith I've been a part of for a number of years. Thank you.

Diggitt said...

"Is this really our job?" I'm glad someone is asking.