Peter Morales’s recent article and all the responses to it remind me that I often feel like I walk in two separate, but over-lapping Unitarian-Universalist worlds: my church, and the UU blogosphere.
I enjoy Anchorage Unitarian Universalist Fellowship more than I ever thought I would. It is not a perfect organization, but there I have been accepted, encouraged, challenged, and affirmed. I have been welcomed there much more readily than I had expected. What I love most about that is that I have both been accepted with open arms just as I am, and challenged to be better and to do more. I love that.
The second UU world is really the first – I found Unitarian Universalism through the UU blogosphere. I have never met most of you, but you UUs who blog or frequently comment taught me about this religious movement until I knew I wanted to look for fellowship locally. I love all you UU bloggers and the community you created. Having said that, it doesn’t feel as welcoming as it used to. In spite of various disagreements and tensions, AUUF has never made me feel like maybe I don’t belong as a UU after all, but the blogging community sometimes has. When I have been hurt by comments I have read, I have been able to push back from the screen and remember that I have a community who accepts and welcomes me.
I believe strongly in the power of the internet and social media as connecting and community-building tools. If we want to use these tools for evangelism to unchurched UUs, we have to spend less time with self-flagellation. Endless material about what is wrong with UU churches and types of UU members isn’t going to attract anyone. People want to join a vibrant community that is going places, not a group who continuously agonizes over everything being done wrong. Give me a vision for making a better world, and a direction in which we are all going to pull to get there. Let’s build a movement based on that vision.
“What is it for us to do? It is for us to heal the world.”