Monday, February 22, 2010

Your House Is On Fire

Many groups of people have ways of getting folks to find out what they most value. For chefs, as Anthony Bourdain has reported, they play "last meal" -- it's your last meal, what will be on your plate? For fashionistas, it's about the closet -- you're leaving on a long trip, but can only take one small duffel. Go to your closet - what do you take? For home organizers, it's "house on fire" -- your house is on fire, and you have 5 minutes to get out. Assuming those you love are safe, what are the objects you grab?

So, okay, UUs. Prompted by a couple of columns, I say to you ... your UU house is on fire. You can only grab 3 things. What do you grab?

Of course, I don't mean "things" and this isn't the joke about the UU minister grabbing the coffee pot. I'm serious. I think we're at a point where our house is on fire and we have to decide what are the elements most important to us, so that we can discard the rest, and open our doors to let in new people. We've got some volunteers ready to help us put out the fire, but they're not sure if they're welcome.

So, culturally, what do you grab? I'm not talking theology. I'm not talking Principles and Purposes. I'm talking about those cultural things that aren't written down, and yet, often define us, whether we want them to or not.

How do you feel about people standing outside your front door, smoking? What about pickups in the parking lot, with gunracks in the back window? How about for a fundraiser, selling hot dogs outside a Walmart?

Your UU house is on fire. What are the three things you grab?

I'll go first.

* Inclusive language -- saying "they" rather than "he," saying "parents" rather than specifying "mommy and daddy," etc.

* Being known as the "gay friendly" church. I walk in a world of evangelicals. All I have to do is say, "I'm UU" and the glbt folks I meet know that I'm "safe." What a wonderful religion, where just revealing you're a member is taken as "code" for being accepting of others.

I'm still thinking about that third one.


Kelly KH said...

I have switched, when talking to kids, to saying "your grownup" because our culture has a lot of grandparents raising kids - or other family members, or foster parents. that feels even better to me and leaves lots of room for different people :) I'll get back to you on my house is on fire choices!

Chalicechick said...

1. The spiritual practice of refining belief through reason

2. Freedom of belief.

3. Congregational polity.

Everything I need is attached to those.


Toonhead said...

The coffee pot could perish in the fire for all I care. How about leaving the assumption that all UUs drink coffee in the fire? What would I save? 1. The celebration of our humanity in all its wonderfully imperfect glory. 2. Religious liberalism doesn't equal political liberalism. 3. Love

Anonymous said...

Oo. I like this.

1) Gay Friendly status. I wouldn't be a UU if it weren't for that.

2) The encouragement to find your own way. This one does bug me sometimes, not gonna lie, but I think if I was told every week what precisely to believe, I wouldn't be a UU.

3) Community that loves you for who you are, not what they want you to be

Julianne Lepp said...

1. Those wonderful potlucks where you can sit with any number of intelligent and creative folks to talk about wooley, wild topics.
2. The UU chalice with any dozen wonderful chalice lightings, and never leaving behind the flame that represents so much for me.
3. Worship. Worship. Worship.

Amanda Udis-Kessler said...

1. A venue for encountering the Sacred without dogma
2. Music that invites us into relationship with the Sacred without dogma
3. Recognition that love is about action at least as much as it is about feeling

Seeker of the Flaming Chalice said...

Wow... what a wonderful question... What would I grab.. 1. The idea of the inherent worth and dignity of all persons. I believe this in my mind and I struggle with it in my emotions sometimes. So it needs to come out of the fire with me. I'm not done with it. It might be cheating but I think that Gay rights and absolute acceptance falls within this principle.

Ok so 2 - hmm... The awareness of and determination to work on our short comings as a religion. We are a religion that feels the importance of diversity, yet we lack ethnic and cultural diversity.

3. Our dedication to social justice.