Friday, June 29, 2007

silence of the living tradition

I love my fellow Unitarian Universalists, but sometimes we take ourselves way too seriously. At the 2007 Service of the Living Tradition, a worship service intended to honor ministry in general, and the UU ministers who are beginning or ending their service in specific, we were told to "contain yourselves" and refrain from cheering for the ministers, as their names were announced.
I do understand how difficult it is to combine a graduation-type ceremony and a solemn memorial service; I understand the seeming unfairness when some people hear cheers at their name, and others are greeted by silence. Even with those challenges, though, I ask: which is *less* worshipful, a few cheers and whistles, or a long, finger-wagging warning about not cheering?
Finally, I am left with the irony of a religious association which is *desperately* trying to welcome "people of color" into its movement, telling its worshippers to "contain yourselves." Maybe that will be the catchphrase for our next marketing strategy.
Can we take up a collection and make sure that the Rev. Dr. Thandeka has absolutely everything she needs, to get her forthcoming book on an embodied UU Theology finished and widely published?

8 Comments:

At 12:53 PM, Anonymous jess said...

Amen, and hallelujah!

 
At 4:02 PM, Anonymous Occam's Trowel said...

Hear, hear, Chip -- well said!

 
At 9:56 PM, Blogger Bret said...

To play devil's advocate, at my son's graduation we were told: "Cheering after each name makes it difficult for the next person's name to be heard, so if you cheer for your kid, someone else isn't going to hear their child's name."

Suddenly, most of the people chose to "behave" themselves out of respect for other people (other parents) like themselves in the same situation.

The problem isn't the rule(s), or enforcing a mandate to behave, it's developing empathy for others in the context of worship. Finger wagging ain't going to do it, and I believe that we can come up with a better solution for keeping the Living Tradition joyful AND creating an environment where there's respect for others.

Just because we haven't come up with that solution for improving the SOLT doesn't mean that we should stop trying after this year's admittedly flawed attempt.

 
At 1:14 AM, Blogger ogre said...

I wasn't really put off by that change. But the sermon... well, you know that when you get to the end, and look meaningfully at the minister sitting next to you, and she makes a face...

But so it goes. I feel for those who preach what is received... and determined to be... a clinker.

 
At 12:35 PM, Blogger Will said...

"A long finger-wagging warning". . . . I have to laugh!

Will

 
At 12:23 PM, Blogger Karen said...

I have to agree with you, Chip. While the SotLT is a worship service and a solemn memorial, it also IS a graduation/commencement, despite the introductory finger-wagging words. Those who've made the long journey through seminary deserve to WALK and hear the cheers (and I always cheer for everyone - can't stand those silences at such a joyful time) ...

but the sermon this year? Ick.

 
At 12:25 PM, Blogger Karen said...

oh, and yes, please, can we please have Thandeka's book now?

 
At 1:24 AM, Blogger Robin Edgar said...

Contain this. . .

 

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