Thursday, October 23, 2008

Take the quiz: The Ultimate Church Community

I got an email yesterday "Gini Courter has confirmed you as a friend on facebook". Such a funny world, we zap information back and forth across cyber space like it's a Jetson's cartoon. Oh no big deal, the moderator of the UUA is on facebook asking for feedback from everyone on the UUAs "Ends". Core values, what do we really want. No, really want. Whatever, now I'm gonna go poke my friend and see what my kids' status messages say.

That deserves a little head tilt. "Hunh?"

Well, Gini is of course, using her facebook page not just to poke religious leaders across the globe, she's asking good questions. I gave my little bit of feedback on her note, but really what happened is that it got me thinking.

What do I want? What difference should UUism make in the world.

Well, like the youth at our cons here in the PNWD yell when someone yells "what is it for us to do?" they yell "It is for us to heal the world". Good. I like that. But I'm old and my brain then goes to the details, goes to the "but... how?" with a whine like a three-year-old who just gave up naps.

So, last night as I worked in the church office with the slowest computer on the planet, and it's brother molasses-head, with the lovely company of one of the kids who had tagged along for a meeting. I nattered away at the copying and new sign-in forms and turned in expense reports. This "ends" business kept looming.

I want to grow. I want more people to find that in their hearts they really do just happen to be Unitarian Universalists. And I want them to come into community with us and drag along all their gifts and talents and their in-laws. I want more of us to lean on each other and to pick up the shovels and picks and to get on with this work of healing the world. It's a really big job. We need more helping hands and loving hearts.

We'd better get on to being an expecting congregation, expecting everyone. Ready to welcome them. We need some people sized spaces in our congregations so that when folks show up, there's a spot just waiting for them. We need to just be ready. Once when I was a new Religious Educator I was walking through a room where there was a new member meeting and the president was talking about growth. I think someone had mentioned that they liked our cozy size and wouldn't want us to get much bigger. I tossed over my shoulder that I thought that growing was a moral imperative; that we need to be ready for new people just like this place was ready for us when we peeked in the door.

I was naive and optimistic, but I was right. That's it. We need to find our people out there and welcome them in.

Well, good. Now that we've got that settled I think I'm gonna go take a new likeness quiz on facebook, who knows, I might just figure out the meaning of life.


Anonymous said...

I'm not a UU member, so perhaps I'm not the target of this head tilt but I'll share my thoughts anyway and you make of them what you will.

Don't grow. Don't grow by even one person. Growing larger implies that there are some people who are with you and some who aren't. That very idea undermines you. Encourage that everyone is included and celebrate the freedom of some not to take advantage of their inclusion. You can't be very universal if everyone isn't in the club by default.

Don't be ready for everyone. Being unready will create great opportunities and a constant rebirth, re-imagination and commitment to hanging together. Let the edges be a constant source of chaotic creativity. Keep your center clear and quiet and focused so the best of those noisy fringes can inspire.

The whole world listens to these electronic musings.. It is without doubt that some of us won't ever join you. It is not beyond hope that we all will trust you and celebrate you as friends.

Kari said...

Thanks,anon. Everyone is us, of course. Good point. I just want to be able to email all of you to come to the Habitat build and volunteer in the bake sale, so I want to know who everyone is. But then, I don't always get what I want! Thanks for the comment.

Yours in grand celebration of friends unknown.