Category Archives: social justice

i believe in a better way


I’m slowly getting back into the frame of mind to start posting again at the ol’ Deist blog. Ideas come to me but unlike before where I could remember throughout the day what I wanted to write, my ideas tend to disappear slowly and without any definitive moment they vanish like mist that’s burned away from morning sun.

But I’m getting there and hope to be flexing my thoughts again in a more consistent manner. I’ve been looking at drafts that I have sitting in my WordPress cue and it seems like most of them were meant for when they were first written… a year, two, three or even four years ago. Not sure why I never pressed the publish button on some of those but needless to say they aren’t really relevant or would be out of context because… well, I don’t know how to explain but they would be out of context.

But there are a handful that are meaningful to me still and I’m sure I’ll dust them off and give them the chance to be seen by someone. Kinda like this one. Not sure why I never posted this one but the first draft was written almost four years ago to the day. Weird huh.
Below is the original post:
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A friend of mine from church introduced me to this song several months ago.  I hadn’t thought about it in a while and don’t know why I remembered it today.  Just thought I’d share.

[Deist begins to stretch a little so he can properly do his best air guitar windmill and scissor kick]

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challenge to the UUA – reinvent UU ministry


There was a tweet I saw come across my time line last week from @Rev_Mother who stated to fellow UU blogger and tweeter @mattkinsi that she wanted to be put in charge of Faith Development. Kins was appointed to the UUA committee on appointments. Or the committee on creating appointments to appointing committees. I don’t know… irony and name aside, Kins has been noticed by some higher-ups in the UUA and it’s pretty cool that I can say I knew him when. In fact, Kinsi is the only one of my blog peeps who I have actually met in person.

Anyway… so a few days ago I woke up with a fuzz of ideas swimming through my head as I meandered from almost awake to drifting back into a dream state. I began thinking about her statement about a ministry on faith development.

Her statement was a tangent off a bigger discussion that had occurred (actually it’s still happening) which was debating the idea of the UUA focusing on it’s cause de jour coupled with the recent Social Justice General Assembly vice focusing on our salvific message. (i learned that word from Rev Mother. I use it all the time now. 🙂 )

I’m assuming this is what brought on this subconscious/dreamlike thinking the other day. So I began thinking what if there was a ministry on Marriage and Family so that we could not only focus on pushing for legalizing same-sex marriage but also from the pulpit deliver a message that strengthened families and those who are married AFTER they have walked down the aisle whether they are gay or straight.  It may seem like semantics but the thing is we work pretty diligently at getting gay people to the alter but do NOTHING for them or other UUs who are married for that matter, AFTER they are married.

I challenge the UUA to develop a broad set of ministries, such as a  Ministry on Marriage and Family, Ministry on the Holy and Sacred, Ministry on Human Dignity, Ministry on the Holistic Human, Ministry on Stewardship  of the Earth. I challenge the UUA to reinvigorate the move Rev. Sinkford had in reclaiming our religious language and pull away from living by-gone days of being a hippy in the 60s.

These are just ideas for names but the concept is to create a small number of core of ministries where our actions and witnessing are sacred, holy work.  And the culture of our congregations would view it as such because that’s what we would hear and learn while sitting in the pews.  Those who are concerned with inhumane conditions at Joe Arpaio’s tent city would be doing holy work… UNDER the auspices of church/religious inspired language such as “ministry” “dignity” “sacred” instead of simply attending a protest to bring attention to a cause of injustice.

There are a million injustices in the world that should be righted simply because we know as a species what is right and wrong. The thing is when we as a religious people take up that cause to right a wrong it should be because we believe in our heart of hearts, it to be a sacred calling. UUism is a religion with a message of salvation… NOT a social club that meets on Sundays for coffee after protesting inhumane conditions the night before.

Cart before the horse


I can’t remember the last time I posted anything UU (unitarian universalist) related. Maybe a year or so ago when I wrote something titled my UU church must change?  I don’t know but I feel compelled as our national conference, known to UUs as General Assembly or GA, is underway in Phoenix.

So GA started yesterday and with Twitter, Facebook and blogging platforms being used in official and unofficial capacities, it’s almost as if I’m there. Almost.

One of the biggest problems I’ve had with UUism since I attended my first service 10 years ago has been the fact there is always some cause du jour and for the most part, those causes usually feeds the caricature that the Everyday Joe has of left-leaning, liberal-minded people.

  • Please help the eight toed children of Burma have free-trade coffee!
  • We must be the voice of the disenfranchised in equatorial Guinea who don’t have access to clean sinks and toilets!
  • Save the three-legged, blue-spotted ninny muggins of Gila Island!
  • What would a world with dignity and a fair wage for food chain workers look like?!??!!!

Believe it or not… that last one is a real cause the UUA is pushing at General Assembly this year. Some of the other causes I’ve seen are something about ethical eating and voicing the unfairness of server wages. I wish I knew who to talk to about trying to raise awareness about pushing for laws that raise the wage of waiters and waitresses because the UUA is going to embarrass itself if it goes full tilt on this. By law, food servers make at least minimum wage. It is federal law. Just because a food server is making $2.13 an hour… you know what, I’m not gonna get into it. But I work for a payroll company. I do it every single day. They are NOT being short changed. No pun intended. : )

Back to the social justice thing though… I mean, history is replete with examples of religious people taking up the banner of justice and heading to the front lines to make a wrong a right. Often times that is how change happens. But the UUA and my church I believe have it wrong.

It seems as though they are moving further and further in the direction of social activism as the means toward spiritual fulfillment when it should be the other way around. It’s the cart before the horse.

I delivered a sermon at  my congregation on Easter that touched on the point. I acknowledged it being a holy day for Christians and that although it is their holiday, we can learn from this narrative. I ended by emphasizing the idea that it is from spiritual transformation and the UU Good News of universal salvation that we are moved beyond the walls of our church and into the larger community to do good works. NOT the other way around.

It is apparent that the trendy missional theology bandwagon has its horse trailing the back end and many UUs are hopping on board, including my own congregation.  I am afraid there is only a nail or two left before the coffin is sealed for me and I am no longer willing to call any UU church my sangha.