2015-01-27

Welcome to Liberal Religion, 1: Unitarians and Lightbulbs

How many Unitarian Universalists does it take to change a light bulb?

You may have heard much of this, but it is instructive, and newcomers to liberal religion need to know.

We have submitted the question to an ad hoc task force, and after months of diligent investigation of the question, they have produced their report, from which I herewith quote, in part:
We have considered a number of alternatives, and each potential answer has been cleared with the Committee on Lighting Diversity, which recommends that each answer be accompanied by the following disclaimer.
"We do not intend to offend or to imply that incandescent lighting is an unreliable source of illumination. We recognize that some of us are uncomfortable with the term 'light bulb,' and suggest that they feel free to substitute the phrase 'Brussel sprouts.'"
We have strived throughout our research to affirm and uphold that the light bulb is a natural part of the universe which evolved over many small steps; that there is to be no discrimination against dark bulbs in any form; and that all bulbs have the right to screw into the sockets of their choice. We seek for each bulb the greatest opportunity to develop itself to its full electrical potential.

Thus we approached the question: How many UUs does it take to change a light bulb? There were many arguments in support of “None.”

- Because UUs aren’t afraid of the dark.
- Because UUs believe the light bulb must change itself.
- Because UUs accept light bulbs exactly the way they are.

Several members of the task force pointed out that, despite the cogency of these arguments, a number of light bulbs at the church have, in fact, been changed, leaving unanswered the question of how many UUs it took to change them. Other members, however, noted that it is the custodian who changed them, and he is believed to be a Lutheran.

Our task force also considered that the number of UUs it takes to change a light bulb is three: one to change the light bulb and two to check that the power isn’t going to her head.
The Board received the report of the ad hoc task force. Upon deliberation, the Board decided, rather than adopt any of the task force’s recommendations that this was, after all, a matter for the Worship Committee, to which they referred the question. The Worship Committee subsequently ran the following announcement in the newsletter:
We choose not to make a statement either in favor of or against the need for a light bulb. However, if in your journey, you have found that light bulbs work for you, that is fine. You are invited to write a poem or compose a modern dance about your personal relationship with your light bulb. Present it next month at our special light bulb Sunday service, in which we will explore a number of light bulb traditions, including incandescent, compact fluorescent, LED, 3-way, and tinted, all of which are equally valid paths to luminescence.
Welcome to liberal religion!

That was a joke. It’s not really like that in Unitarian Universalist congregations.

Except that it kinda is . . .

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Adapted from Equally Valid Paths to Luminescence, compiled by Carol Pentleton
This is part 1 of 4 of "Welcome to Liberal Religion"
Click for other parts: Part 2, Part 3, Part 4

2 comments:

  1. This History Committee objects to being left out of this process, with the result that the long-term context of New Lights and Old Lights is in danger of being forgotten. See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Old_and_New_Light

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  2. I would lean more toward the "It kinda is" (like that in UU congregations) than not. But what's that they're saying in Washington these days? Oh yeah: "Democracy is messy." And sometimes ridiculous, and it is essential to laugh about it. Nice job with the latter!

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