Problem solved, or denominational politics

Looks like Unitarian Universalism is about to enter into another denominational conflict. Some folks are questioning plans for this year’s General Assembly, our annual denominational meeting. In this video, I outline the conflict, and (in imitation of King Solomon who said “cut the baby in half”) I offer my own novel resolution to the conflict.


11 thoughts on “Problem solved, or denominational politics

  1. Bill Baar

    I’ll buy it Dan.

    I’ve never been to a GA before but I assume delegates need to be credentialed to vote? To prove who they are to participate in the denominations business?

    So I assume a virtual GA would also need a similar credentialing functionality.

  2. JH

    YES!!! Ban ALL conventions. They are HOOEEY.

    As I pack my bags for the mother of conventions, the dreaded MLA, some 10,000 academics packed into one city for three funfilled nights and four nervewracked days. Shuddddddddddddddderrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.

  3. UU Jester

    You make a good point (or several).

    Though, there is something about the gathering of “our” people in one place that was rather powerful and inspiring the first time I experienced it.

    Since that time, GA has also been a time/place where I’ve been able to see individuals I don’t get to see otherwise.

    Do those reasons justify the $1500 expense and time? Not alone, no.
    But they are a consideration.

    (Especially for those of us on the E side of the E/I scale, I suspect.)

  4. John Pageless

    Your solution makes sense, Dan. Only problem is, when you get a group of people together to make a decision, that decision usually does not make sense…

    There is, however, something to be said about bringing a whole denomination together under one roof. It ensures kinship among the various groups within Unitarian Universalism. Just playing devils advocate here!


  5. Christine Robinson

    From a church which had used videos and remote sites for worship, I have to say that it’s not just a matter of finding a space for remote meeting. Good Video worship takes at least two cameras and a very good sound system, as well as huge internet connections at both ends. As for meetings, how such a thing could be made to be two-way, so that people in the remote site could speak and vote..I don’t have a clue. But I do know that just providing a DVD of the sermon to our alternate venue and getting a file uploaded to the web to our alternate site has taken all the techie smarts we have in this church. It’s just not as easy as it looks.

    Here’s the key point in your video….only well-healed persons “can afford to do this non-essential travel.”

    What part of GA is actually essential to the running of the denomination, the health of churches, the future of our denomination? Hardly any of it. And that hardly any could easily be done every other year, leaving alternate years for regional and speciality (UUCF revival, large church conference, etc.) meetings.

  6. Abs

    I’ve only been to one GA, and had to receive financial assistance from my church in order to attend (major financial assistance) – and in the end, I wasn’t really too sure what the purpose of attending GA was for an ordinary parishoner like me. I was pretty anxious to leave by the end, and didn’t get as much out of the experience as I would have liked (nor do I think that I contributed much to GA with my presence).

    So I think your idea is pretty cool, and would be empowering to those people who can’t easily attend. Though Christine does make an excellent point above about the difficulties of setting up remote sites. It’s a quandry, to be sure.

  7. JoyceD

    I can hear a lot of the YouTube videos on my laptop without speakers, but yours is too faint. I’m guessing about the issues due to the comments (I need to read the e-list UUA-GA that I haven’t been keeping up with).

    I think including people who can’t travel to GA would be great while still allowing those of us who’ve scraped up enough money to go still attend. I sing in the choir and you can’t really do that virtually. I love change, but there are some things that are nice to stay relatively the same.

    BTW, the anti-racism/multiculturalism piece is especially good to do in person – getting to know people with differences works better in person. I’ve met a lot of different people online from all over the world, but not anywhere near in the same way as the people I’ve met in person.

  8. H Sofia

    The most important thing I got from the Becker letter was the part about “unAmerican” sentiments being voiced, and convention site staff being called to “report” things that they see and hear … hmm. That’s more disturbing to me than the ID part, which is all I’d heard about until now.

    I do think GA needs to be done better. I think there will always need to be national meetings, but for as much as GA costs individuals, I’m still puzzled as to why it’s such a huge expense for the UUA. I think video conferencing might work if clusters of congregations got together and pooled some resources to share video conference rooms (where their delegates could do business).

  9. H Sofia

    Well, I looked at the UUA website and in the FAQ about this issue, it says there won’t be any monitoring or reporting of “unAmerican” sentiments at the convention. I also went the convention center website and ran numerous searches for a Muslim, Islamic, or CAIR event, and nothing came up.

  10. PeaceBang

    This is awesome Protest Theatre, dude. Rock on.

    I won’t be in Ft. Lauderdale myself. Last year’s return for my money was so miniscule I just can’t, in good conscience, do that for two consecutive years.

  11. Dan

    JoyceD — Sorry you can’t get hear this one on your laptop. I tend to get really crappy audio because of the cheapo camera I use, and then I have to heavily filter it to take out the noise, and sometimes the end result is less than ideal.

    Don’t worry, you didn’t miss much.

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