Monday, June 18, 2007

Portland, Ho!

Once again this year I'm going to be doing a sort-of-blog for the UU General Assembly. It's a blog in the sense of being a regularly updated chronicle of what I see and do, but it's sort-of because there's no mechanism for leaving comments. (Not my fault; the GA web site just isn't set up that way.)

I'll post a link when I know one, and feel free to attach comments to this post.

This week I've been doing my homework. I'm covering the Ware Lecture by Rashid Khalidi, so I read his book about Palestine "The Iron Cage". Liked it. He gives the impression of being thoughtful and not knee-jerk partisan. I am not an Israel/Palestine expert though, so I can't judge how accurate his overall interpretations of the facts are. I expect an interesting talk.

I'm having more trouble with my other homework. I'm covering David Korten's talk, so I'm reading his recent book "The Great Turning: from Empire to Earth Community". I want to like the book, but it's pushing so many of my buttons.

When an author is trying to state a case or make a point, one of my tests is whether s/he seems to understand why some people disagree. I'm impressed if you can state the opposing case in a reasonable way, and I'm not impressed if you think that everyone on the other side is either stupid or evil. So far, in the first 100 pages, the main reason I've seen for people choosing Empire is that they are not as spiritually advanced or psychologically mature as the people who choose Earth Community. That doesn't give me a good feeling.

He also pushed my gender button. 67% of "Spiritual Creatives" -- the highest caste in Korten's system -- are female. Now think about the reaction an author would get if he defined a ladder of spiritual advancement and discovered that 2/3 of the highest caste were male. Immediately issues of structural bias would come up. But Korten just swallows this number in one gulp, without raising a single question about it.

On the GA web site I'm going to maintain journalistic objectivity; it's my job. But it may not be easy.

4 comments:

Robin Edgar said...

Let us know if anything comes of this 'Open Letter' that I just sent to UUA President Bill Sinkford and all UUA Trustees.

An Open Letter To UUA President Bill Sinkford aka Rev. William G. Sinkford

Date: Mon, 18 Jun 2007 15:57:39 -0400 (EDT)

From: "Robin Edgar"

Subject: Some Serious Questions For President Sinkford To Answer

To: bsinkford@uua.org, wsinkford@uua.org

An Open Letter To UUA President Bill Sinkford From Robin Edgar

Monday June 18, 2007


Dear President Sinkford,

I am still waiting for genuine justice and an appropriate formal apology from the UUA for the well-known and well-documented injustices and abuses that the UUA is responsible for perpetuating, condoning and even effectively endorsing. I expect genuine justice to be done and a formal apology to be delivered to me on your watch. I am hereby reminding you that I have already informed you in a previous email communication that I expected a formal apology to be delivered to me by the 2007 UUA GA which is just days away. It would appear from your passive resistance, your negligent inaction, and your complicit silence that you have virtually no intention of genuinely waging peace with me as per the letter and the spirit of your Holiday Message of December 1, 2006.

http://www.uua.org/news/newssubmissions/14040.shtml

When are you and other U*Us going to begin genuinely realigning your lives with your purported values in your human relations with me and other victims of clergy misconduct and/or other U*U injustices and abuses?

When are you and other U*Us going to begin to actually move toward change and reconciliation with me and other victims of U*U injustices and abuses?

When are you and other U*Us going to sincerely commit yourselves to the spiritual practice of waging peace - in your hearts, in your congregations and communities, and in the so-called U*U world?

When are you and other U*Us going to move from the futile to the effective, from the stagnant to the active, from the destructive to the creative way of life?

I am still waiting for justice and equity President Sinkford, as are other victims of various injustices and abuses that have been perpetrated by U*U clergy and/or U*U congregations. These serious injustices and abuses have been perpetuated, and indeed significantly escalated and aggravated, because you and other U*Us in positions of authority and responsibility have repeatedly chosen to do little or nothing to responsibly address, and adequately redress, those injustices and abuses that have been committed against us by U*Us.

I am still waiting for you and other U*Us to actually begin waging peace with me and other victims of U*U injustices and abuses. When will you and other U*Us begin waging genuine justice, genuine equity and genuine compassion in your human relations with us? When are you and other U*Us going to actually begin to walk what you apparently insincerely talk President Sinkford? When are you and other U*Us going to begin to genuinely practice what you preach?

I am still waiting for an answer Bill. . . I am still waiting for justice.

If you want genuine peace you must provide genuine justice to me and other victims of U*U clergy misconduct and other injustices committed by U*Us.

Sincerely,

Robin Edgar

kim said...

So far, in the first 100 pages, the main reason I've seen for people choosing Empire is that they are not as spiritually advanced or psychologically mature as the people who choose Earth Community. That doesn't give me a good feeling.

When you wrote about Consumer Hedonism, what was your reason for people preferring Consumer Hedonism over a more spiritual position?
Also, if you would like to read an interesting essay on Spiritual Maturity, I suggest this one:
http://www.fvcommunity.org/beloved/node/706
by Shelley Strauss Rollison.
Are you going to be at the Bloggers' dinner Friday in Portland?

Doug Muder said...

Kim,

A good question, and perhaps it shows that I don't always pass my own tests. But Korten is doing something I didn't do. I was describing Consumer Hedonism as a trap that liberals and conservatives alike fall into -- my people as well as the people I usually argue against.

Korten is arguing against groups of people who are usually unnamed but easily identifiable: neoliberal economists, for example. Apparently people who have certain economic and political beliefs are less spiritually advanced than people who have other economic and political beliefs. I think that makes people on Korten's side feel good, but it's hard to see how it advances the discussion.

I'm still juggling my schedule -- I ended up spending most of last night in Midway Airport and that has thrown everything off. Are you going to be at the bloggers dinner?

Allison said...

The Great Turning pushes my buttons, too. I haven't figured out if it was the message itself or the sermon which first introduced me to it, and I don't think I've quite pinpointed why. I'd love to hear your thoughts after finishing the book and going to the talk.