Showing posts from April, 2014

Surprised People STILL React Poorly to the Very Large Project

My dear friend and colleague Dawn Cooley wrote a great article, "Surprised People React Poorly" back in February.  She's responding to the new UUA logo and the following critique of the logo that swept through social media.  In her post she says that people who are surprised react poorly, as the title states, and because of that she suggests a plan:
Towards a 2-part solution: Trust is a 2-way street.  I encourage those of us on the sidelines to recognize our own reactivity, our own distrust of authority, and remember that we are the UUA.  The people we tend to point fingers at care very, very deeply about our faith tradition and are hard at work trying to ensure our future.   We do a thorough job of holding them accountable, but can we practice occasionally cutting them some slack? Apparently, this new logo wasn’t a whim and wasn’t created out of thin air, but has been a year-long process of dialogue with 50 different UU stakeholders (according to the recent VUU ep…

Being Led by Our Principles

A friend and colleague asks, "When did our Principles ever lead us to a place we didn't already want to go?"

It's a bit like asking "When is something truly altruistic?"  The fact that I did something might argue that to some extent I wanted to do it -- that I felt doing it served some purpose.  But sweeping aside the philosophical question, I think I can point to places our Principles have led me that I was at least conflicted about. 

The first time I remember being pushed by my principles to do something that I was uncomfortable doing was in graduate school.  I became aware that I had what I knew was an unreasonable fear of people with HIV/AIDS.  And I felt that my principles called me to address my fear and get over it.  And so I volunteered to spend my spring break with the Alternative Spring Break program working for the Mobile (AL) AIDS Support Services.  I've written about that experience in this blog before.

The next time I felt like my principl…

And Let Them Know About It!

A colleague pointed out recently to me that I do something fairly naturally which is not something every minister or even every congregation knows how to do, which is to get the word out about significant actions that I or my congregation has taken, both within the UUA and in the local media.

I credit two people with having trained me to do this.  One is my internship supervisor and mentor Drew Kennedy, who I remember talking to me during internship specifically about how to work with your congregation and board around your media presence.  The second is a workshop that was held at our UUMA chapter meeting with John Hurley presenting that I attended during my first year in ministry.  I've attended subsequent workshops, and now teach communications at our local college, so all this has been added to in small ways over the years.

The basic is this: If you're doing something newsworthy in your congregation or town, let people know about it.  Let them know about it beforehand, and…

Nickel and Dimed in Bivocational Ministry

In the last week or two, I've been hearing a lot of talk about "bivocational ministry" as the potential saving model for sustainability in our movement.  The subject has come up in a number of collegial conversations, and Scott Wells introduces the subject in a recent post

First of all, as far as I can see "bivocational ministry" is just a fancy term for "part-time ministry" that makes it sound like something the minister wants because they have some other wonderful job they don't want to give up.

What are the problems with bivocational ministry?  It can be a great choice if:
You're independently wealthyYou're a second-career minister with a lucrative first professionYou have a spouse with a good income On the other hand, it's not so great if:
 You're a first-career ministerYou're not independently wealthyYou don't have a spouse with a good income I was a part-time minister for a couple of years.  You could call me "b…

Equality Comes to Michigan -- Part Four: Weddings

It's time to finish up my series about my memories of that day in Ann Arbor.  With the abundance of clergy we had, the blessing was that those who had religious communities were often able to find their own clergy person and have them perform the ceremony, and many others were able to find someone who represented their own faith tradition, whether Christian or Jewish or Pagan.  I did see one African-American couple come down who were specifically looking for an African-American minister.  It sounded like they had seen him earlier and were trying to find him again.  I don't know if they did, or not.  I hadn't seen him, but the room was very crowded for most of the day. 

Those couples without connections to local clergy had their pick of the rest of us who were there available. I officiated at two services.  And just enjoyed the day and celebrated with other couples and witnessed and helped the rest of the time. 
The first wedding I performed that day was for Adam and Micha…