Sunday, January 3, 2010

See a UU Minister?

In reply to my 12/10/09 post "See a Minister?", Scott Gerard Prinster wrote the following comment:
My first thought about this elusive "ministerial presence" is that a strong candidate demonstrates the ability to reflect critically on questions in light of our UU traditions and values. Our congregations expect us to be able to provide leadership in responding thoughtfully from a UU perspective to difficult questions and situations.
His comment closely tracks my thinking about the 16 competencies (Sexual Health, Sexual Boundaries, Sexual Justice was added at the 12/09 MFC meeting) for UU ministry. When the MFC evaluates candidates, it's not just trying to answer the "See a Minister?" question. Rather it's looking at the more specific "See a UU Minister?" question. It wants to know whether the candidate is grounded in "UU traditions and values" and understands theology, church history, Hebrew & Christian scriptures, etc., from a UU perspective.

This lens for looking at the other competencies can be helpful in studying for the MFC interview. For example, candidates are less expected to memorize scripture than they are expected to see it as a UU and to "respond thoughtfully from a UU perspective."

One can advocate this study method without slipping into the dangers of orthodoxy. It's not necessary nor wise to parrot a UU "party line." Instead reflect on how your theology, ethics, and understanding are aligned with UUism. For example, my theology had its roots in Asian Indian philosophy. Learning that Mary Moody Emerson, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, and others had trod this path before me and the impact of Asian philosophies on modern UUism put me on solid UU ground.

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