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.