Monday, September 3, 2007
Responses to 'Liberal religion and the working class.'
Ever since the Fall UU World went online and started arriving in mailboxes, UU bloggers have been mulling over Doug Muder's cover story, "Not My Father's Religion: Unitarian Universalism and the Working Class. (You can submit letters to the editor to share your responses with the magazine's readers. Include your name, congregational affiliation, address, and phone number; your address and phone number are for verification only.) Among the rich and stimulating blog responses:
Earthbound Spirit speaks up for Unitarian Universalists who grew up working class and are not part of the professional class, but feel instead that they are "passing for middle class." (Back in 2005, Matthew Gatheringwater had described a subset of Unitarian Universalists as "governess class" — high-education but low-wealth people working among the professional class, including many ministers.)
Terri Dennehy Pahucki (at UU Intersections) says Doug's experience does not match hers as a mailman's daughter, although she and her husband have opted out of the upper-middle-class life by choice. She writes:
Where do those who have chosen a path of voluntary simplicity fall? My husband and I make so little money that we qualified for medicaid this past year, yet we both have master's degrees. We sustain ourselves by working — for little money (teaching, real estate) or none (motherhood, writing, volunteering) — at our vocations and buying nothing. We wear second-hand clothing, grow our own food, borrow books from the library, and enjoy nature and friends for recreation. Right now we are sharing a hand-me-down car. The working class, according to Muder, "sells their time for money". But I think what we are trying to do — and Lord, it is DAMN hard — is to give away our money for time.
In a two-part response, Jamie Goodwin (at Trivium) says that much of Doug's essay rang true to his experience as a child of the working class. "Where I differ from Doug," he writes, "is in his assertion that because Unitarian Universalism is the kind of faith that does not speak in absolute rights and wrongs that this will somehow be unwelcoming to people who are not professionally educated. Nothing in my experience marks this as true." Instead, UUs make such a fuss about higher education that those who haven't picked up a degree or two feel excluded. Jamie also writes that many working-class people experience satisfaction and comraderie, rather than alienation, in their work.
Joel Monka says Doug's essay is "an excellent read," but he thinks four key parts of the essay are off the mark. Not surprisingly, he offers a brief libertarian critique of mainstream UU political theology in response.
(You can see even more blog responses to "Not My Father's Religion" via Technorati, or by subscribing to this Technorati feed.)
Copyright © 2007 by Philocrites | Posted 3 September 2007 at 9:06 PM