Monday, June 11, 2007

Where It's All About You

A colleague recently posted a link to a video from the website It's a Christian source for short video clips preachers can insert in their sermons. One of them, the one linked here, is called "MeChurch" and, well, it speaks for itself.

I am often tempted to root some of the problems I wrestle with as a parish minister in Unitarian Universalism itself. (And some no doubt are rooted there.) Yet watching the MeChurch video reminds me that the "cult of the individual" has been enshrined not just within UU congregations. Another clip from the same site is a mock ad for a new collection of worship songs called It's All About Me which features such songs as "Now I Lift My Name On High," "I Exalt Me," "How Great I Am," and, "O Come Let Us Adore Me." It's definately aimed at a Christian audience.

So how do we combat our culture's emphasis on the individual without going too far and dismissing the individual? How do we reconnect people to the power of the whole without letting go of the much needed affirmation of the parts? And, more specifically, how do we change the culture in our congregations so that individuals know themselves to be part of something larger than themselves--so that the first question isn't "what do I need?" but, rather, "what do we need?" I think of this in terms of such endemic problems as: low levels of financial support; one "interest group" battling another; those without kids wondering about the importance of religious education for our kids and those with kids wondering about the importance of resources for our elders; people leaving the church in a huff over this slight or that slight. I see this in church after church after church.

How do we make that shift? No answers; only some of the questions that I'm wrestling with.

In Gassho,

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