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Switch to Forum Live View Is UUism beyond rescue?
3 years ago  ::  Aug 20, 2011 - 9:04AM #1
DotNotInOz
Posts: 6,832
Even though I've now been an un-churched UU for almost half a decade, I still find myself speaking about "us" and "our" where UUism is concerned. 

However, for a number of reasons, the UUA's brand of UUism is displeasing and seems to me to be bringing the faith ever closer to extinction. 

A few UU churches with particularly dynamic ministers are increasing their membership notably, but they're nowhere near reflective of UUism as a whole. 

And why there's a continuing decline has puzzled me for a number of years as openminded and freethinking as people have become. Logically, UUism would seem to be more appealing than ever. 

So, I've waffled on the issues of sticking with UUism and trying to do what I can toward reform, or simply chucking it all and finding another faith group altogether. 

Except that despite some pretty thorough searching, I can't find one that reflects my basic spiritual bent as does UUism.  

I think it's probably too late to salvage the denomination, since so many young adults are leaving and not enough are joining to offset the exodus. The bulk of UU members are middle-aged or elderly anymore, and that is not a demographic that bodes well for UUism's survival. 

Is there any hope to speak of, do you think? Or is UUism already too far gone to be revived?
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3 years ago  ::  Aug 20, 2011 - 5:33PM #2
JCarlin
Posts: 5,971

Aug 20, 2011 -- 9:04AM, DotNotInOz wrote:

  And why there's a continuing decline has puzzled me for a number of years as openminded and freethinking as people have become.




The reason can be explained with an anecdote that is unfortunately all too common.  A young person left the High School Seminar, never to come back when his father, an atheist, was denied permission to join a God discussion group led by a prominent and influential UUA minister. 


If any UU is denied permission to join any UU group, the UU ethos is dead.  The zombie hangs around for a while, but it isn't UU any more.  

J'Carlin
If the shoe doesn't fit, don't cram your foot in it and complain.
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3 years ago  ::  Aug 21, 2011 - 6:21AM #3
DotNotInOz
Posts: 6,832
Interesting you would mention that prohibition. 

I got into a discussion once during coffeetime at the church-of-last-resort I attended for a few months about why so many UU small groups are strictly segregated by one characteristic or another. 

It was about gender-restricted support groups. I remarked that having had an unpleasant experience with how whiny and bitchy women-only groups can be, I thought it'd be refreshing to open all small groups to any interested adult. A gender-specific group could benefit often from having the other gender involved and getting their perspective in a supportive atmosphere. 

We speculated briefly and somewhat lightly about how such groups would deal with a transsexual who hadn't yet adopted the appearance of hir true gender. Which group? Would the person simply be refused because sorting out which group s/he qualified for was too confusing?  

The circle groups in other UU churches I've attended were even more restrictive in some ways. One I was invited to join was by invitation only I was astounded to learn. Appallingly cliqueish, I thought, but didn't say so.

Worse was to come when the two people inviting me explained that because it was a covenant group, you had to promise regular attendance. It met for an hour every other Sunday after a half hour of coffeetime. 

I explained that I would only be able to come once a month since my husband is walking disabled, and my primary commitment must be to his needs. I simply couldn't do the service and group both that frequently, a nearly three-hour bloc on the Sundays the group met. 

I was told I couldn't join then. No accommodations would be made. 

Absolutely preposterous! I drove home crying from frustration and anger at how that completely unreasonable restriction could be not only condoned but upheld in a UU church.  
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3 years ago  ::  Aug 21, 2011 - 7:44AM #4
Jupiter6208
Posts: 2,272

Wow! that's very sad   Unitarian Universalism is pretty much done  IMO...

"A person who is nice to you, but rude to the waiter, is not a nice person."  Dave Berry



You will not be punished for your anger, you will be punished by your anger. Buddha.
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3 years ago  ::  Aug 21, 2011 - 10:41AM #5
DotNotInOz
Posts: 6,832

This year marks 30 from when I joined CLF. 


From my reading, personal experience and conversations with lifelong or longtime UU's who went through the merger in the early 1960's, I think that I got into it midway on the downslope.


The first large disillusionment for me was the UUA's withdrawal of official status from the array of special-interest organizations given more legitimacy in some cases by its official sanction.   The one most valuable to me quickly went from about two dozen chapters scattered on the two coasts primarily to just under half that number about five years ago. I checked its website a few days ago, and there are now only four chapters. Very sad.     


I agree, J'C--the zombie is still plodding about but before much longer will collapse never to rise again.

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3 years ago  ::  Aug 22, 2011 - 10:41AM #6
DotNotInOz
Posts: 6,832
Just curious, JCarlin. Did the UU ethos fall by the wayside at a point in your lifetime, your having been raised in the faith, or did it go at some point before, do you think?

Not that it matters, I suppose, but I'm curious having heard elderly longtime or lifetime UU's say that they felt the essences of both Unitarianism and Universalism were more evident prior to the merger than after it. They acknowledged that the merger was necessary but had misgivings about it philosophically, they told me.
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3 years ago  ::  Aug 22, 2011 - 11:02AM #7
JCarlin
Posts: 5,971

Aug 22, 2011 -- 10:41AM, DotNotInOz wrote:

Just curious, JCarlin. Did the UU ethos fall by the wayside at a point in your lifetime, your having been raised in the faith, or did it go at some point before, do you think?  Not that it matters, I suppose, but I'm curious having heard elderly longtime or lifetime UU's say that they felt the essences of both Unitarianism and Universalism were more evident prior to the merger than after it. They acknowledged that the merger was necessary but had misgivings about it philosophically, they told me.



Not really, it sort of dribbled away,  I was fortunate to have belonged to All Souls in NYC while Forrest Church was dominant and he may have been the last of the Universalist UU's in both the religious and the social sense. The GA's I went to in the late 80's were generally disappointing.   I moved to SF Bay Area in late '89 and found no comfortable church religiously.  

J'Carlin
If the shoe doesn't fit, don't cram your foot in it and complain.
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3 years ago  ::  Aug 22, 2011 - 3:49PM #8
DotNotInOz
Posts: 6,832

I've long been an admirer of Church's approach although I don't care for A Chosen Faith by him and John Buehrens that is now so often touted as THE introductory book for come-to UU's. It is an excellent example, however, of thoughtful dialogue by two UU's whose UUism isn't very like each other's.


I really appreciated the late Rev. Dana McLean Greeley's classical Unitarian service I once attended while vacationing in New England. That it was Emerson's former church (although not the same building) was a thrill, too, history geek that I am. I'd like to return to the Concord church for a service sometime to see if it's become as "God-lite" as so many other UU churches. Then again, I'd rather not be disappointed to find it, too, has.

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3 years ago  ::  Sep 17, 2011 - 2:55PM #9
MsTopaz
Posts: 387
This is so interesting because these experiences mirror my own frustration and disappointment with UU churches. They are awesome in theory but the lived experience is so different.
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3 years ago  ::  Sep 17, 2011 - 5:23PM #10
DotNotInOz
Posts: 6,832
Hiya, MsT,

Topaz is my birthstone. Yours, too?

Say more about your experiences if you'd care to. I've found that airing my disappointment has helped me "divorce" UUism and feel more reconciled to my Solo Church.
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