I’ve been using the luxury of snowbound time to catch up on the controversy over district authority in the UUA. Should they [District Executives] be accountable to two boards, the district and the UUA? Should they be accountable to one or the other?
Before I run out to buy more groceries for tomorrow’s snowstorm, I want to boil the whole thing down to a single question: to whom is God speaking about what this religion ought to be doing?
I am using “God” in that very loose sense to which four decades in this faith community entitles me. It can be your still, small voice within, it can be the fortuitous discovery of needs and assets in your little corner of the chaos, it can be a benevolent parent or grandparent, it can be a pleasing hum in the atmosphere that you’ve been thinking might be medically diagnosable if you had the right doctor.
So, let me repeat the question: “to whom is God speaking about what this religion ought to be doing?”
If God is speaking directly to the people, it seems to me that communication would be flowing up, not down.
If God is speaking directly to the UUA Board and our President — in a way that God does not speak to the rest of us — then perhaps we need to make that more clear in our Bylaws, which says that their sole purpose is to serve the congregations — whose purpose, in turn, is to provide a democratic habitat in which their spirits might thrive.
The model behind current proposals from the UUA Board used to be called “republicanism,” that is, governance by emissaries (elected or appointed — if they are elected, it is called “democratic republicanism”) on behalf of those less capable or available to manage their own public affairs. Historically it has been associated with a patronizing concern that the average person cannot make good decisions on big questions, reinforced by a determined denial of all resources by which said average person might show their capabilities.
It is not what I support, advocate, or believe about our own, or any other faith community.
How soon can we set up our own Tahrir Square? Where is our place to gather, not for others, but for ourselves?