Interdependent Web: Spent and scaling back

Interdependent Web: Spent and scaling back

A weekly roundup of blogs and other user-generated web content about Unitarian Universalism.


Spent and scaling back

The Rev. Peter Boullata explains why he is leaving parish ministry for ministry in a different setting.

It is the art of skillful self-differentiation, a burden I gladly took on at ordination, that now costs me more than I have left to spend. I’m spent.

I miss having my soul tended to by a gathering of imperfect, loving, genuine people—among whom I am most authentically myself, my undivided, wholehearted self. (Held in the Light, June 3)

The Rev. Ken Beldon shares, in a public Facebook post, his reasons for scaling back to half-time work with the congregation he founded.

[My] soul increasingly finds rest, peace, and grace in more introverted and contemplative expressions of ministry and living.

While these contemplative and introverted qualities have served me well in many parts of my ministry here, and I am beyond grateful to you for the chance to grow my soul as well as grow the congregation, I have also regularly experienced myself as incongruent with a style of leadership that I believe the congregation increasingly needs, which is a ministerial orientation to deeper strategic thinking, more rigorous alignment of our ministries and oversight of staff, and a clearer sense of priorities. (Facebook, May 31)

The Rev. Sharon Wylie reminds us that our jobs aren’t everything.

It is not necessarily true that doing what you love will bring money to pay the bills. And trying to figure out what you love and how you can make a living at it can become a full-time distraction. Most of us don’t have just one passion, one skill set, one thing to spend our lives doing. We’re much too complicated, and our interests are varied.

It can also be possible that doing what you love for money may destroy the thing you love. (Ministry in Steel Toe Shoes, June 1)

Changing church

Representatives from a broad variety of UU organizations gathered this week to discuss the economic sustainability of all forms of ministry. UU World Editor Chris Walton is covering the story, and many participants are live tweeting, using the hashtag #sustainministry.

The Rev. Adam Tierney-Eliot reports that the board of the congregation he serves will discuss, at an upcoming retreat, a book by the Rev. Dr. Jeffrey Jones entitled Facing Decline, Finding Hope: New Possibilities for Faithful Churches.

His thesis is basically that not all churches will survive and that many of the ones that do will be transformed by the experience. Phyllis Tickle, a respected expert on all things church, points out that religious institutions re-invent themselves every 500 years. . . . Eventually the old institutions either adapt or make way for something new that works. This is a time for adapting or for making way. In a way it is a bummer. In another way it is a blessing to be right where the action is. (Burbania Posts, June 3)

The Rev. Dawn Cooley advocates for congregations sharing resources, coordinated by the UUA.

We are stronger together, and centralization has its perks. We have seen this with the Common Endowment, and with theUUA Health Plan. Why not expand the resources that the UUA provides to our congregations? Of course, due to our polity, no congregation would be required to use any of these resources, but I bet many would! (Speaking of, June 1)

The Rev. Tom Schade proposes a vision for the next stage of Unitarian Universalism: "Unitarian Universalism should be the most accessible and holistic movement for the radical transformation of our culture." (The Lively Tradition, May 29)

Protests and politics

Kim Hampton begins a series of queries in preparation for General Assembly, beginning with this question: “Would #BlackLivesMatter to Unitarian Universalists without the protests?” (East of Midnight, June 1)

The Rev. Amy Zucker Morgenstern doesn’t believe in deliberate rudeness as a political strategy.

There’s a store selling a t-shirt with an upside-down United States flag on it. Those who hold the flag sacred are outraged and boycotting the store. Many, like me, who have a nuanced and ambivalent view of what the flag represents, think the shirt is rude. I wouldn’t wear one, and I find their window display childishly disrespectful. (Sermons in Stone, June 1)

Summer vacation

The Rev. James Ford points us to “What I Did on My Summer Vacation by William Ellery Channing, Age 10,″ a video made by the Sixth and Seventh Grade Class of the Unitarian Society of New Haven. (Monkey Mind, June 2)

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