I wrote a piece a few days ago on a recent event at our Fellowship, where our Membership Director resigned at the request and/or not so subtle encouragement of our board.
The piece was decidedly critical of how this process took place, with some angst directed, right or wrong, at our Board members.
Soon afterward, I got copied on an e-mail from another member of the Fellowship who, despite their own anger at the action taken by the Board, reminded us that the board is made up of “good people,” doing what they felt best for the Fellowship.
I couldn’t agree more. I like the people on the Board, enjoy seeing them, have shared my stories with them and had them share their stories with me. I’m not ready to discard our relationships based on one event.
On the other hand, I’m not ready to stop being self-critical just yet. Yes, that’s right, I said self. I am a member of the Fellowship, and any failure of it- whether by a member, the Board, or the group at large is also a failure of mine. And, I am intensely self critical, as I think many UU’s are. For myself, destructively so. For the Fellowship, I hope, constructively so.
I hold us to an incredibly high standard. It has taken me years to acknowledge, internally, that I am a member of a religious organization. I detest religious organizations. Abhor them. They take the highest ideals of humankind, couple them with our darkest fears, then hold them all over our heads like an axe waiting to fall.
UU doesn’t do that. At least it shouldn’t, and generally doesn’t. There are no authoritarians, no priests ordained by God, no exorcisms of future governors, no promise of the meek inheriting the earth or of life ever after.
So it is with more than a little concern that I see the Board take such a strong position without fully vetting it within the membership.
That said, I don’t want anyone on the Board to resign. I don’t want them to take the criticism personally. And, I certainly don’t want to lose any friendships in this process.
What I do want, is for the Board, and the membership, to take a good hard look at where this fell apart and together come up with a plan to overcome it. We can’t do that if anyone walks away from the table.
I consider myself an optimist- though this usually surprises people who know me the best. Perhaps a little more accurately, I’ve describes myself as “an optimist, I’m just not happy about it.” Or, knowing full well it is not a part of my constitution to be either content or happy, I continue to work towards that end none the less.
I know, I FEEL, the Fellowship has an opportunity to grow through this crisis and to take a great leap forwards- to open lines of communication not yet explored, to envision a future more inclusive, less threatened by ex-Lutheran ministers. Or by change.
For those members of UUFF that have stumbled across my musings- I hope you have not been offended. I do hope my streams of thought encourage some of your own- and perhaps somewhere downstream they can merge to create something substantially more enduring and wonderful than they did apart.
Of course, what’s a river without a little white water?