Sunday, January 10, 2010

New Century Summit

Out here in the wild, wild West, AKA the Pacific Central District of the UUA, we're gearing up for a New Century Summit later this month. Gini Courter, the UUA Moderator, and Michael Durall, author of several books, including The Almost Church Revitalized: Envisioning the Future of Unitarian Universalism, will be the keynote speakers. The purpose of the Summit is the look at the meaning/future of UUism in the PCD in the 21st century.

A perfect storm of climate change and the future of UUism in the 21st century is on the horizon. We would be deluding ourselves if we tried to contemplate the latter without considering the former. This Grist article refers to a booklet available online from the Columbia University Center for Research on Environmental Decisions on "The Psychology of Climate Change," which tells us a lot about why we might be in denial.

Hey, I'm sympathetic with the denial and the deniers. I can think of a whole bunch of reasons to stick my fingers in my ears and shout la-la-la-la when it comes to climate change. Yet it is one of the challenges of ministry to be prophetic, to tell a truth that your audience is not yet ready to hear.

Prophecy has at least two meanings. Often people think of Nostradamus making "prophecies" about events 100s of years into the future or of prophets who hear God's voice and tell the people what they've learned. But prophecy in the context of UU ministry and climate change has much more to do with telling truth to power and truth to the populace. Though prophets have been ascribed mysterious powers, usually what prophecy requires is seeing clearly what's happening, making reasonable inferences about what's next, and telling your truth.

We are in a time that calls for prophecy. May the Summit be an opportunity to respond to that call. And may we help UU ministry prepare for their roles as prophets.

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