Still true today

Dana Greeley, the first president of the Unitarian Universalist Association, wrote the following in 1970:

“I once preached what I thought was a pretty good sermon on ‘The Methodological Conservatism of Theological Liberals.’ We have to be as inventive with our money as we are with tools or medicine or private enterprise. And to me it is more important, and more natural, for liberal religion to be bold, and to grow, than for IBM or some new computer company to be bold or grow. The worst complacency in the world is religious complacency.”

2 thoughts on “Still true today

  1. Bill Baar

    The answer revolves around failure. A Church depending on 2 or 3 percent of it’s members for 80 percent of its budget can coast for a very long time as a failure (using dwindling membership as criteria of success and failure).

    Substitute a healthy endowment for that 2 or 3 percent and it can atrophy and keep coasting with almost no members… at least members showing up for Church. A big and very sad failure.

    A business depending on sales and revenues can’t afford failure for long.

    I evaluated IBM’s Human Resources system once as a model for a Gov Agency I worked for, and I asked the IBM guy about running this thing parallel with the old system, and the reply was you don’t run parallel when you’re losing 80 million a day (I don’t remember the number, it was outrageous). You innovate and cut costs, and make it work, in IBM’s environment when the choices are failure of hemorrhaging money.

    You want boldness and innovation, you take the risks of boldly financing yourself. Like depending on a more equal distribution of pledges instead of those generous 2 or 3 percent (Bank their excess pledge maybe?)

    Understanding this link be creativity, innovation, and failure is what turns a Socialist into a von Hayek Capitalist by the way.

  2. Dan

    Bill @ 1 — Dana Greeley believed in aggressive fundraising and a constant search for new sources of income. He also believed that borrowing money is not a bad thing, but a good thing. All this tallies with what you’re saying.

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