Monday, May 12, 2008


I am not sure what it means, but the progressive Christian magazine, Sojourners, has classifieds that advertise opportunities to volunteer in Africa, Brazil and the streets of our USA, while our UU magazine, UUWorld, has classifieds that advertise house rentals in the south of France and Hawaiian eco-tours.

It's not just about class--first of all, I do not think that the majority of UUs are as wealthy as we like to think--but about our disinclination to "submit" to a compelling religious vision.

Or maybe it is about class. I am more and more persuaded by David Bumbaugh's analysis that the thing that best characterizes UUism is our middle-class-ness, which he defines as anxiety that we will lose our middle-class status, or at least appear to lose it. Thus, even a compelling religious call to serve the poor pales in comparison to the fear of *becoming* the poor.

Without condemning the fear, how do we minister to it, and move forward?


At 3:56 PM, Blogger Elizabeth J. Barrett said...

I'm surprised that no one has commented on your post. Being someone who has experienced class fluidity (middle class to poverty to working class to middle class), I think the fear of losing middle-class-ness stems from people realizing how precariously most of us wobble on its edge.

One wrong move: one lost job, one medial bill not covered by insurance, one car totalled can cause a family to fall off.

Because many, many middle class folks live in homes they really cannot afford, drive cars they don't own, shop at expensive grocery stores, etc., they are really just a few paychecks from losing it all.

So the fear is very real! Another aspect, though, is that being middleclass has quite a downside: being all about acquisition and impressing ones neighbors is depleting and exhausting. So folks are working very hard to keep up with something they don't even value that much.


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