Showing posts from August, 2011

It's No Wonder...

Almost two weeks ago, a blogger going by "Wondertwisted" wrote a blog post titled A 'Dear John' Letter to Unitarian Universalism.  (Her real name appears to be "Cindy" based on the responses to the post, but since I'm a Cindy, that's confusing, so we'll call her "WT.")  In her post, WT outlines the reasons why she's leaving Unitarian Universalism.  The blog post immediately got a lot of my colleagues talking about it, mostly on Facebook as they posted up the piece.  I've been thinking about WT's post since then, and am still not really ready to put out a full response, but here goes for a bit anyway.

I understand what it is my colleagues are saying when they are sympathizing with Wondertwisted.  They see in her post a desire for a deeper spiritual experience in Unitarian Universalism.  It's connected to the "Language of Reverence" discussions that went around a few years ago and the "Whose Are We" di…

Pronoun Usage: Where Grammar and Justice Meet

As many of you may be aware, I have my bachelor's and an M.A. in English literature, and I often teach introduction to composition at the local community college in addition to ministry.  I'm teaching again this fall, and am thinking over my point of view about pronouns, specifically the use of "they" as a singular gender-neutral third-person pronoun.

My previous perspective had been that I was there to teach them to abide by the MLA style, and that the MLA style did not (yet) allow for the singular use of "they."  Therefore, I have been marking this as a pronoun/noun error on papers for years.  As far as I can determine, the MLA, Chicago, and APA style manuals all still recommend "he or she" or "he/she" or making the subject plural.  The Chicago Style Manual states:
A singular antecedent requires a singular referent pronoun. Because he is no longer accepted as a generic pronoun referring to a person of either sex, it has become common in…