Saturday, December 05, 2009

making UU sticky

Our UU message is not "sticky" enough; we get bogged down in details and complexities when we try to describe the good news of UUism, according to Peter Bowden, who uses Malcolm Gladwell's Tipping Point to diagnose this issue. We already meet two of Gladwell's three criteria: the wounded and evolving world is the perfect context for our message, and we do have a sufficient number of passionate followers. Alas, our identity is too complex to be communicated easily; it does not stick.

Bowden (and his co-thinker, the Rev. Ms. Amy Freedman) came up with the following rebranded, sticky, UU identity:
"We bring diverse people together around shared Universal values.
Now you spring this on somebody and they are going to have questions. That’s cool… Answer the questions. What people? What values? And why?"

The rebranding comes from cognates of Unitarian Universalism--Unite, Universal. It doesn't remove the complexity or subtlety of our theology, it just moves it back in the conversation, so the sticky part comes first.

I am not convinced that our values *are* universal, and we aren't that diverse--but that's part of the conversation *after* the stickiness. Get it to stick first, then add nuance. And maybe, if that is the identity we tell ourselves, we will more easily become more heterogenous and more widespread.


At 6:50 AM, Blogger Bill Baar said...

Our Church isn't toothpaste...

At 9:53 AM, Blogger goodwolve said...

We aren't diverse in the traditional sense - but if you stretch that meaning we fit. If you use the Principals as the values then we might fit with that. Problem is we tend to be a bit elitist - and that isn't sticky... unless you are a luxury brand.

At 10:37 AM, Blogger Robin Edgar said...

"Alas, our identity is too complex to be communicated easily; it does not stick."

I regret to have to say so Chip, but I believe that the "complex" U*U identity is all to easily communicated and that may be precisely why so few people want to be U*Us. . . Maybe if U*Us did a better job of actually practicing what they preach, instead of all too often making a total mockery of their claimed principles with their contradictory words and actions more people would *believe* the message of U*U principles and ideals.

I personally believe that most Canadians and Americans and other "Westerners" already believe most of the U*U message but don't see U*Us doing an exceptional job of actually honoring and upholding that message. If the message is not "sticky" enough it may simply be because U*Us themselves don't *stick* to their "message" all that well if U*Us catch my drift. The moral and ethical mediocrity, and truly outrageous hypocrisy, that I have encountered in The U*U World is genuinely appalling if not laughable. . . Sometimes I don't know whether to laugh or cry, but since I am not all that big on crying, I generally *stick* to laughing at the hypocritical antics of U*Us.

For *example*, yesterday was the perfect day to celebrate the ninth anniversary of my false arrest on trumped up "public nuisance" charges at the behest of Totalitarian Unitarians in Montreal who have repeatedly made a total mockery of pretty much every principle and ideal Unitarian*Universalism claims to "affirm and promote" in its, from my perspective. . . outright fraudulent message. U*Us need to pay heed to the following *message* courtesy of *Jeopardy* game show host Al Trebek -

Don't tell me what U*Us believe in. I'll observe how U*Us behave and I will make my own determination. . .

At 10:38 AM, Blogger Robin Edgar said...

Now U*Us know one of the major reasons *why* the U*U message doesn't stick, it's because U*Us don't *stick* to their own message. . . Even when proferred carrots. And no Chip, this is by no means just an isolated problem with Montreal Unitarians the same kind of two-faced hypocrisy whereby U*Us happily say and do things that are in complete contradiction of the message of U*U principles and ideals is found throughout the U*U World even at the "corporate headquarters" of the Uncommonly Hypocritical Denomination at 25 Beacon Street in Boston. The proof is in the Peacebang as it were, although there is plenty of other proof of even worse UUA hypocrisy. . . Modern Westerners, especially the "unchurched" who U*Us seek to attract, can smell hypocrisy a mile away and feel little or no need to attend a "church" that makes so little effort to actually practice what it quite evidently outrageously hypocritically preaches.

Having said all that I will agree that *some* U*Us do try to stick to the message of U*Uism, possibly even a majority of U*Us, but in this day and age of "electronic communication" a few "bad apples" can and do spoil the whole bunch. U*Us need to deal responsibly with their "bad apples" of various kinds, not the least of them being the intolerant and obnoxious "fundamentalist atheists" who make too many U*U "churches" anything but Welcoming Congregations to God believing Canadians and Americans, but quite regrettably U*Us make little or no effort to correct the situation when U*Us in general, and U*U clergy in particular, go "off message." Then U*Us wonder why The U*U Movement is but a "tiny, declining, fringe religion". I have no quarrel with you personally Chip, indeed you are in my good books as a result of not censoring and suppressing my message and allowing it to stick to your blog posts.

Ta from TEA

At 10:59 AM, Blogger Robin Edgar said...

Thanks for the inspiration Bill!




AreU*Umad Radioactive Toothpaste








Calvin's of Maine

U*Ultra Brite


I will spare U*Us the (im)pertinent hyperlinks for now but I see a *brand* spanking new Emerson Avenger blog post in the making here. :-)

Gotta go. . .

*Real* life intervenes.


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