See 1:25. Not so flattering to the unstated Unitarian publishers of this paper, but there’s some comfort in knowing nineteenth-century Universalist papers were (as I remember from long-ago) generally respectful of Catholic immigrants. And promoted toleration of Mormons.
Happy days. I’ve been waiting for years to see a well-reviewed Canadian sitcom, Little Mosque on the Prairie (aka Little Mosque) and it’s now available on Hulu. It’s about a small Muslim community in the fictional town of Mercy, Sasketchewan. Cute, quirky, a bit broad and gently preachy in a distinctly Canadian way.
And then there’s this screenshot. Hmm. An announcements-in-worship themed plot device!
From season two, episode one episode “Grave Concern”.
It’s hard to judge this book. I’m not Jewish. I’m not accustomed to flow and customary options within the services. The work comes from a small organization. I expect I will be inspired by it and find several prayers or ideas for prayers when I become more accustomed to the text.
So just two observations now.
First, interleaf photos of historic Classic Reform synagogues gives the prayer book a historic feeling, and can’t afford to be seen as a relic. Coming from parallel movement within liberal Protestantism, I know it is a reputation to be overcome.
Second, I wish it were more attractive. Book design is a tricky art, and would be costly. But there is something too plain about this service book. It was dropshipped to me from GIA, a hymnal publisher. I’ve never found GIAs work to be terribly pretty. (They published the hymnal of NACCC, which I wrote about sometime back.) But following the publication last year of New American Haggadah, (NPR) a notable work of liturgy, scholarship and art, so pedestrian a publication of a long-lasting prayer book seems like quite a waste.
And a cautionary tale for Unitarian Universalists.
I was searching online, clicking links and reading tonight when I found this charming, touching and pleasingly funny film short. It’s about a Jewish congregation in the East End of London trying to keep a minyan on Yom Kippur. Spend ten minutes and — if your congregation is in peril — hope.
“The Tenth Man”
And the punchline, for this blog? The Sandys Row Synagogue, where it was filmed, is a real place. And this is the actual building, in another age then known as the Parliament Court Chapel, where a spiritually-conflicted John Murray and his first wife, Eliza, heard the Universal Gospel from James Relly. In other words, this is where the “father of American Universalism” became a Universalist. It makes me think, and tremble a little.
So the UUA’s a bit smaller this year than last. The question I have — perhaps unanswerable — is how many of those are (put plainly) old, middle aged and young. Are these numbers a sign of social and economic stress, or are we approaching a demographic cliff?
The answer would suggest next steps. But the good news is also the bad news. Despite the talk of cradle Unitarian Universalists, we’re dependent on converts. (The cradle UUs could use some PR help, being second only to the Quakers in making participation from infancy a smug, if unearned, status.) This is good because there’s the opportunity to grow, should we tap adequately into the culture. But the bad news is that we would probably make the most sense to those coming from a churched setting, and those numbers are falling.
Later. What? It’s Wednesday? Long week. Tomorrow is Ascension.
Long-time readers know that I love the feast of the Ascension, when Christ took leave from his followers and figuratively lifted up humanity. Leaving the office just now, I chatted with Office Mate, with whom the subject turned to how well parsed the Wikipedia entry for Jesus was. (Don’t ask.)
I exclamed: “Ah! it’s Ascension and it’s too late to take in a service’” then briefly explained Jesus’ final appearance and leave-taking.
Office Mate: “I thought that was Easter.”
Me: “No, that was his resurrection.”
OM: “So he pulled an Obi-Wan?”
Me: “Not how I would put it. Ascension’s more like the end of Jedi.”
Not that I like to give the Lucas universe that much credit. Plus it’s arguably a bit like the Transfiguration, too.
Today is the annual open day for non-EU embassies. (EU is next Saturday.) Long lines for a pamphlet and, sometimes, a taste of the local cuisine. I go to look at the buidlings and out of an internationalist sympathy.
Having done this a few times I’ve learned that the smaller the country the better chance of a good return. Some derived lessons, for churches.
- Tell people why they’re being greeting, sharing a distinctive.
- Keep the food samples simple and easy.
- Be clear about trouble overcome and accomplishments made.
- Be selective in suggestive next steps and make sure there’s a clear path out!
Churches take note; sometimes open options reads like inattentiveness.
I’ve not been blogging lately because I work for the Sunlight Foundation — these words are my own — and we just hosted our big in-person event, TransparencyCamp 2012. (When I make comments about Unitarian Universalist events, I do so honestly.)
The camp has been getting some major press; indeed, I hear that several of wy readers know Sunlight independently from our various activities. Quite proud of these, and I hope — if government transparency interests you — that you sign up for more info. Developer? Be sure to get an API key. And then there’s TransparencyCamp 2013, details TBD.
As a Gen-X fan of Twin Peaks, I have a deep admiration for the Log Lady. But there’s something about this prologue that suggests a Unitarian Universalist chalice lighting. Or at least I’ve heard odder thoughts expressed in that place.
Though, to be fair, the “as above, so below” reference is closer to Swedenborgianism.
This is blog post 3,300.