Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The most important things

There have been some interesting conversations zooming around UUCyberland. Class! Entitlement! Radical Hospitality! And how do we all, we funky, broken, well intentioned lovely humans do this? This living in community without hurting each other?

Oh my, if you think I have the answer you really better hit the back button and go on to the next blog. I don't.

I do know that in our quest to be a deep, spiritually meaningful religion we sometimes look for validation in places that feel real and solid, like rock under our feet.

I think this is part of our focus on Transylvania "See? We're not some fru-fru, fly-by-night religion!" No we're not, and yes we have beautiful roots and they do not justify our existence, we don't need justification. We're fine as is.

This could be where our focus on credentials and labels and degrees comes from as well. Education, of course, is very important, and no I do not want an under educated physician. But some of the wisest folks I know have almost no formal education. They listen to their hearts and to the wind and to the person sitting in front of them. We Unitarian Universalists may just be trying to prove that we really are a worthy group, "See all our degrees? All our labels? See who we are? See? We must be OK. We have letters!"

No. As Mister Rogers would say "they're just beside you".

For years at the General Assembly of the Unitarian Universalist Association ministers would have a box to check to add "Rev." to their name tag, but Religious Educators would have to enter their name as "Joe Blow, DRE" to have the appropriate title displayed on their name tag. Last year, or maybe the year before they added a box for us, although not all our combinations and permutations (LRE, DFM, DLRE, etc...).

Maybe as step one this year at G.A. we could all just be "Joe Blow." Person. Unitarian Universalst. Body and Soul.


Sara said...

Ah, Mister Rogers! I LOVE Mister Rogers. And as the daughter of a man who always fussed to get his title of "Doctor" in front of his name on EVERYTHING, I have to say it all seems pretty silly to get hung up on that stuff. I mean, folks who were in the military and are retired and still insist on being called by their rank seem like they can't let go - or even worse, guys who still go by their high school football team nickname!

Anna Banana said...

Loved your comment about the UU Transylvanians. As a relatively new UU (5 years), I wonder how much US UUism is really connected to UUism practiced in Transylvania. I'm not even sure how much modern UUism is connected to pilgrims' Unitarianism and 100+ year old Universalism or if it's important. Now Radical Hospitality, that's important!

Kari said...

Love Mister Rogers!

@AB--it's hard because for me growing up UU I longed for a connection to something from the past, some roots, some history, we were given none of it. And I teach the children and youth about those roots and that history in my work and it helps them place themselves and have context in religious history. But goodness....it's just that, history. So I really hear you. And I hope to make a visit to our partner church in Transylvania soon, so there ya go!