If I’ve got my facts right, it’s now too late to nominate another candidate for the presidency of the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA). Oh well. We must choose between the two candidates who have declared themselves: Laurel Hallman, the anointed candidate of the UUA power elite; and Peter Morales, the upstart candidate.
Honestly, I’m not terribly enthusiastic about either candidate. Both candidates are a little too committed to “The UUA Way” of doing religion. What is The UUA Way? The UUA Way is:
- doing religion like it’s still 1986
- being obsessed with John Carver’s “Policy Governance” (TM) model for administration
- placing 1980s second-wave feminism at theological center
- focussing attention on the wealthy White suburbs.
In addition, The UUA Way is dominated by these Baby Boomer behavior patterns:
- expecting churches to provide goods and services to consumers
- operating under the assumption that protest is the pinnacle of social justice work
- always being far too self-absorbed.
I was hoping that a younger candidate (“young” by the standards of The UUA Way means someone under 50) would step forward at the last minute to challenge The UUA Way. Since that hasn’t happened, I’ve finally decided that I’m going to vote for Peter Morales.
I’m going to vote for Morales even though he says he supports John Carver’s Policy Governance (TM) model, a rigid and inflexible model that is poorly matched to membership organizations in which the members (not the Board) set ultimate policy — but at least he uses and seems to understand the phrase “modern management” as applied to non-profits, and that counts for a lot. I’m going to vote for him even though the theological vision he states in his platform is not particularly compelling, nor particularly deep — but at least as someone who spoke Spanish before he spoke English, he seems to have some understanding of theologies that might be congruent with a post-White-hegemony world, and he is willing to talk about reconciliation, and those things count for a lot. Most important to me, Morales seems to really understand that The UUA Way has to undergo rapid change to respond to the vast changes in surrounding society — I don’t think he would change The UUA Way as much as I’d hope to have it changed, but at least we’d see some change in the right direction.
Not that it matters how I vote, or whom I support, because the rumor mill tells me that Morales doesn’t stand a ghost of a chance. Hallman has the money and the influential people behind her, and even Gini Courter, the popular moderator of the UUA, has come out in support of Hallman. So maybe I should just forget the 2009 election.
But I will say this: If you’re a post-Baby-Boomer minister, with good administrative and fundraising skills, and a deep understanding of the societal changes that are rapidly rendering The UUA Way obsolete — I do hope you will start preparing now to run for the
2014 2013 UUA presidential election.