Wednesday, June 28, 2006

GA Journal -- Comments Accepted

I'm back from the Unitarian Universalist General Assembly in St. Louis. The main thing I did there was write a journal for the official GA web site. (Of course that's not what I claim in the journal, but a journal that says "Today I sat in my room and wrote a journal" wouldn't have had much appeal.)

Like the rest of the GA web site, my journal didn't allow comments. I asked, and they weren't going to be moved on this. The Unitarian Universalist Association is still too afraid that somebody will post some off-the-wall comment, and then somebody elsewhere will say, "Over at the official UUA web site, they say ..."

So my compromise is to recap here what I said there, and you can comment as you like.

My pre-GA post is pretty light, and is mainly noteworthy for my statement of the Law of Temporal Perspective: "Any day sufficiently far in the future seems to contain infinite time." You can also see a picture of me in my short-haired beardless mode. This is the picture that has finally convinced me to have my teeth whitened.

On Wednesday I was still pretty light in my afternoon post. The picture here is from my drive down from my parents' house in Quincy, Illinois. Missouri Highway UU crosses Route 61 on the way to Bowling Green. I took a picture of the exit sign and intentionally misinterpreted it as an exit for that famous Missouri Unitarian landmark, the UU Bowling Green.

The late-night part of the Wednesday post talks about the reception that a group at the UUA had for UU bloggers, and what I wish we had talked about. This thread got picked up over at Philocrites.

Thursday I wrote about the Church of the Larger Fellowship worship service, which rocked. Two great ministers, a congregation that sings loud, and a choir performing part of a new cantata based on the UU Sources.

Friday contains a lot of little stuff. I flash back to the strangeness of worshipping with thousands of UU's at the opening ceremony Wednesday, wander around the Exhibit Hall looking for funny buttons and t-shirts, and point out that if Peter Laarman really wants to start a dialog with the religious right, he should stop calling them "Christofascists". At least in public. And then there's the strange sense of embarrassment that comes from picking up the UU-Men newsletter at their booth and realizing that I wrote the lead article; it's like I'm standing there waiting for somebody to look at my badge and say, "Oh, you're Doug Muder."

By Saturday I was comfortable enough writing the journal to get serious. The first entry is after listening to Bill McKinny talk. He's a UCC minister and the president of the Pacific School of Religion. His talk tied in with the Laarman/Sinkford workshop that I had covered the day before on the regular web site. This issue that struck me, and I think I'll do a separate post on that issue here soon, is what part UU's can play in the formation of a religious left to balance the religious right. The language of a religious left is going to be mostly Christian -- can we shout "Amen!" to that?

Then I posted about the Rebecca Parker workshop, for which I also did the event coverage. This got me rambling about another question that deserves its own post: UU's are such pessimists about where the country is going, but somehow I never hear them take that into account when they plan their personal lives. We can talk about the melting polar icecaps one day and get excited about buying a beachfront vacation home the next. What's up with that?

In my final entry Saturday, I got snarky for the one and only time in the GA Journal -- I don't think Deb Weiner at the UUA has read this far into my journal yet, and I wonder if I'll hear about it when she does. I couldn't take Mary Oliver's Ware Lecture. In my imagination, the committee that invited Oliver is entirely made up of elderly women saying, "Wouldn't that be lovely?" For balance, next year we should invite Michael Jordan.

Sunday I did a survey of what the other UU blogs were saying about GA. I'm sorry if I missed yours. Dan Harper got me going on the strain of being an introvert at GA.

Then I did a wrap-up where I enthused about my GA experience in general, promised to provide an outlet for comments on this blog, and expressed my intention to go to the next GA in Portland.

As I said, I'm sorry I couldn't accept your comments on the official site. Feel free to post them now.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Meet Me in St. Louis

This week I'm at the Unitarian Universalist General Assembly in St. Louis. I'm blogging my experience of the conference at the conference web site.