November 14th, 2010

Writing to UU's

I've got two things to write, and I'm not at the moment sure I'm going to get either one done in time. Most timely is a sermon for 9:30am this morning on the subject of my experiences at the General Assembly this past June in Minneapolis.

At issue is that I'm a prophet rather than a minister -- pithily defined as "A minister comforts the afflicted, a prophet afflicts the comfortable," and people quite naturally resent being afflicted. But in talking about *my* experiences *at the GA rather than here at home*, if I have an amusing story to tell I can get people to listen, and possibly recognize their own flaws in Other People, which is usually the easiest place to spot them.

Good stories have memorable characters, and one memorable possible-cast-villian was a young man with a scruffy beard who was one of the Ushers -- this being a political position of some power, as he got to keep the queue for the microphone on the floor, and prevented my friend Jesse from addressing the assembly. And the same young man was also the person who pulled me aside in the plenary session with an earnest and eager question, which I may have been *politically* free to ignore and go take the mike and ask my own current question, but building consensus is also part of the political process and so I elected to allow myself to be distracted.

Was this young man in fact a villain? Jesse and I make a fairly small political bloc, but at no time did this earnest young man actively violate the rules of the Assembly -- he may have been *wrong* to prevent Jesse from taking the mike, but he wasn't *inappropriate.*

There was an Ombudsman's office; I tried registering a complaint with them. And this is getting to be far too much detail to fit into a five-minute-maximum sermon. The short summary of it is that the Powers That Be increased their own power over the objections of their people, and successfully used their political machinery to stifle that voice -- and are at the same time good people trying very hard to do a very difficult job.

And it's these terribly well-meaning people who are destroying the denomination, because it is remaining an insular and isolated in-group. Outsiders see this, and decline to put the work into becoming members.

Maybe the UUFC members can see this in the GA where they can't see it in themselves.

I'll save my second thing to write for later; if I get back to that one this afternoon that's OK.