Showing posts from February, 2011

10 Reasons to Attend General Assembly

General Assembly housing and early bird registration open March 1st. General Assembly is an expensive proposition.  I can only afford it... well, actually, I can't afford it.  My professional expenses are usually depleted by the time GA rolls around, and so it's out-of-pocket on a small church minister's budget when I go, which is usually every-other year.  There are ways I cut costs -- I drive, when possible (and go less frequently when it's not); I stay at a cheap hotel on the outskirts and commute in to the city.  I usually consider registering for only part of GA, but then break down and register for the whole thing anyway.  But this year, despite the expense and the fact that I went last year, I'm planning on going again.  Here's why you should, too.  And, no, the UUA isn't paying me to do this.  I really mean it.  I have a feeling this year is particularly important, as is next year. 
Celebrate the anniversary!  This GA, Unitarian Universalism turns 5…

Drops of water turn a mill, singly none...

I was fascinated to read Rev. Dan Harper's musing, "I’m fascinated by the way Unitarian Universalists pick and choose among politically liberal causes, and I’d love to hear your thoughts on why this might be so. Specifically, why don’t we support unionism (with the exception of Cesar Chavez’s farmworkers union, but then maybe that was more about immigrants than about unions)?"  My response:  We don't support unionism?  Somebody forgot to tell me this, apparently.  I thought we did.  But perhaps he's right about the larger UU culture--there is a classism we're constantly accusing ourselves of that I can forget from my social location here in Jackson, MI, in a more working-class church.  The colleagues I see posting on Facebook are full of union spirit right now.  Perhaps we bloggers are just slow to be posting about it.  Rev. James Ford just put out a nice post today saying, "Personally I blame the short term 'in it for me' philosophy that un…

The Trouble with Bookstores

Anyone who has ever helped me move in or out of a house knows that I have a lot of books.  What my husband and I do for fun, when other people go to clubs or the movies, is go to the bookstore and read for a few hours.  We used to do this about once or twice a week, before our child was born.  Even after, it has been a staple of her life.  It is a sadness to us that we keep moving further and further from good bookstores, as we've moved in our last three locations.  Our definition of a good bookstore is one that has chairs to read in, a good selection of books, a children's section with a train table or play structure, coffee and snacks, and is open until 10 or 11 p.m., and open on my off-times (Monday, Sunday evening).   If we can get 10-20% off as a matter of course, we're pretty satisfied with the deal, too.

As most will know, Borders is closing many book stores across the country.  There are four closing here in Michigan.  Store closings are part of our landscape right …

Facebook Ministry 201: Pages, Old Groups, and New Groups

Many Facebook users are confused by the difference between "Pages" and "Groups," and between the new "Groups" and the old "Groups."  Here's a brief-ish primer.


If you're wanting to create a Facebook presence for your church, what you want is a "Page."  See my church's page at for an example.  To create a page, go to another page and scroll down to the bottom.  On the bottom of the left column will be a link that says "Create a Page."  If you click on that, it'll walk you through the steps.  With pages you can post status updates which will appear in the news feed of the people who "like" (formerly "fan") the page.  You can post blog posts or videos or whatever, just like with your own personal status update.  You can create invents and invite all the followers to them.  Pages also have the advantage of getting their own distinctive URL, which makes it …

Facebook Ministry 101: How to Create & Use Friends Lists in Facebook

One of my Facebook friends asked me for this information, and I said I'd write it up as a note, so I decided to write it up as a note here so that others could learn, if interested.

This can be useful information for anyone, but I think for ministers who friend congregants it's a particular must-know.  The basic concept is that in Facebook you can create "lists" for your friends, and then you can do various things with these lists, including blocking access to certain information.  This is somewhat different from "Groups" which I'll talk about another time, if it seems like people need to know.

Step One: Create a Friends List

Under the account link on the top left on your blue bar in Facebook there is an option called "Edit Friends."  Click on that.  Then there should be a button on the top that's labeled "+ Create a List."  If it's not there, look on the left-hand column.  Sometimes my menus look different because I've al…

The Tiger Mom and the Real Debate

Okay, I know you've all been waiting for me to weigh in on the "Tiger Mom" issue.  But, really, does anybody who knows me think that I'm just going to say, "Oh yeah, we're totally like that"?  For those of you who don't know me, I suspect I'm pretty universally regarded as not exactly a strict parent.

For those not familiar with it, Amy Chua launched a national debate with her article, "Why Chinese Mothers Are Superior" in the Wall Street Journal.  Chua has more recently said that, first, she didn't pick the title of the article and wouldn't have put it that way, and also that her book is about how she learned to back off of this model, and some if it is meant humorously.  But that doesn't stop the debate from going on about whether or not the "Tiger Mom" model is the best model of parenting.  Chua's children were not allowed to:
• attend a sleepover
• have a playdate
• be in a school play
• complain about not …