The Emerson Avenger

The Emerson Avenger is a "memory hole" free blog where censorship is scorned. This blog will "guard the right to know" about any injustices and abuses that corrupt Unitarian Universalism. Posters may speak and argue freely, according to conscience, about any injustices and abuses, or indeed hypocrisy, that they may know about so that the Avenger, in the form of justice and redress, may come surely and swiftly. . . "Slowly, slowly the Avenger comes, but comes surely." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

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Location: Montreal, Quebec, Canada

In 1992 I underwent a profound revelatory experience of God which revealed that the total solar eclipse "Eye of God" is a "Sign in the Heavens" that symbolizes God's divine omniscience. You may read about what Rev. Ray Drennan of the Unitarian Church of Montreal contemptuously dismissed as my "psychotic experience" here: http://revelationisnotsealed.homestead.com - This revelatory religious experience inspired me to propose an inter-religious celebration of Creation that would take place whenever a total solar eclipse took place over our planet. You may read about what Rev. Ray Drennan and other leading members of the Unitarian Church of Montreal falsely and maliciously labeled as a "cult" here: http://creationday.homestead.com - I am now an excommunicated Unitarian whose "alternative spiritual practice" includes publicly exposing and denouncing Unitarian*Universalist injustices, abuses, and hypocrisy. The Emerson Avenger blog will serve that purpose for me and hopefully others will share their concerns here. Dee Miller's term DIM Thinking is used frequently and appropriately on this blog. You may read more about what DIM Thinking is here - http://www.takecourage.org/defining.htm

Friday, September 14, 2007

UUA President Bill Sinkford Announces A National Marketing Campaign For U*Uism

A work in progress. . .

UU World editor Chris Walton has just posted an announcement on his Philocrites blog that UUA is announcing a national marketing campaign. It will be most interesting to see to what extent this U*U marketing campaign will consist of misleading or outright false advertising. . . The UUA`s official announcements of this national marketing campaign already contain have a few questionable claims. For example, in his letter Announcing the UUA's National Marketing Campaign on the UUA web site, UUA President Bill Sinkford gushes, "We are preparing to launch the first national marketing campaign for Unitarian Universalism in fifty years!" The UUA web page takes this questionable claim a step further by saying, "Starting in early October the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) will launch its first national media campaign in over 50 years!"

It seems to me that, according to these claims, this national marketing campaign for U*Uism is the *only* national marketing campaign that the UUA has ever undertaken, and that President Bill Sinkford and other UUA marketing genuises are blissfully unaware of the fact that UUA Unitarian*Universalism aka U*Uism has yet to reach the age of 50. . . The UUA could not have launched a national marketing campaign 50 years ago, let alone over 50 years ago, since the UUA and thus Unitarian*Universalism did not even exist 50 years ago. OK so I`m admittedly being somewhat anal about this 50 year thing, but why didn`t marketing genius UUA President Bill Sinkford just say that this U*U marketing campaign is the first national marketing campaign for U*Uism that the UUA has ever undertaken? After all it`s not like the UUA could have actually had a national marketing campaign for U*Uism over 50 years ago. N`est-ce pas?

According to Chris Walton, "The campaign involves full-page ads in Time, a print-online sponsorship of Time's religion articles archive, and online advertising at time.com. Resources available so far include UUA President Bill Sinkford's letter to congregations introducing the campaign, an expanded description of the October-December advertising initiative in Time magazine, information about a DVD introducing Unitarian Universalism that will be mailed to all congregations later this month. . ."

One of the slogans on the UUA`s web page announcing the advertising campaign says -

Nurture Your Spirit, Help Heal Our World

Surely if U*Us want to help heal the world they would be much better off nuturing the spirit of their fellow human beings rather than jsut themselves as individuals, or does the phrase "Our World" mean only the U*U World? Even if this was the case, surely it would be better to suggest that U*Us nurture the spirit of their fellow U*Us rather than just their own individual spirits in order to heal the U*U World. Here is my slightly reworked version of that questionable U*U slogan -

Nurture An U*U Soul, Help The Heels Of The U*U World


According to the UUA web site - The campaign is designed to:

Inspire members to take greater pride in their identity as Unitarian*Universalists

Encourage Unitarian*Universalists to invite friends and family to visit congregations

Raise name recognition of Unitarian*Universalism

Give Unitarian*Universalism a voice in the national discourse about faith.


If this is true then it seems that running full page U*U "advertorials" in Time magazine may be marketing overkill since the first two claimed objectives could be achieved via internal publicity and PR. The third objective is may also be somewhat redundant in that U*Us, or at least "Unitarians", already have a fair bit of national "name recognition" thanks to regular mentions of Unitarians in 'The Simpsons' cartoons, to say nothing of Garrison Keillor's free publicity for U*Us on his "A Prairie Home Companion" show. As far as giving Unitarian*Universalism a voice in the national discourse about faith goes it will be most interesting to see just how this national advertising campaign for U*Uism actually plays out over the coming months and years. This national advertising campaign could be a wash out, or even backfire badly. . . if the end result is that it raises public consciousness to what a mess U*Uism is these days.

BTW While I have been writing this post someone by the name of Dudley Jones decided to post this pithy comment to the Philocrites blog post:

Will this presentation be candid about how intensely many UUs dislike the religion of their neighbors?

Chris Walton has responded to him by saying, "Dudley, some of the information for congregations is aimed at helping UUs become genuinely welcoming. This work will be challenging for some people, but I can only hope that a growing number of UUs are learning how to disagree without being disagreeable."

Hope against hope Chris but you just might be engaging in what Rev. Charles Eddis calls "wishful thinking". . . Thanks anyway for publicly acknowledging that rather too many U*Us can indeed be more than a little bit "disagreeable" towards those they disagree with.

5 Comments:

Anonymous Rev. Jack said...

It just feels so empty, throwing so much money, time and attention at such an impersonal method of outreach, especially for such self-aggrandizing reasons.

What happens when it succeeds, and UU churches are flooded with hundreds or thousands of strangers, with beliefs that vary widely from the carefully negotiated compromises of the established congregation? Is the contemporary flock of UUA professional ministers and elected officials spiritually adept enough to integrate such an influx? Or are they about to call attention to themselves, trumpeting themselves as the antidote for withering spirit and broken world, only to demonstrate their worst qualities in front of their largest audience in fifty years?

How much you want to bet all this crowing about healing the world is an unfunded mandate?

On the plus side, I haven't given them any money in over a year, and yet I'll get to hang around and recruit Pirates from all the newcomers they're about to disillusion, so hey, free marketing for me!


PS (hey, free marketing for meeeeee!)

Friday, September 14, 2007 8:05:00 pm  
Blogger Robin Edgar said...

:It just feels so empty, throwing so much money, time and attention at such an impersonal method of outreach, especially for such self-aggrandizing reasons.

I certainly have to agree with that Rev. Jack.

:What happens when it succeeds, and UU churches are flooded with hundreds or thousands of strangers, with beliefs that vary widely from the carefully negotiated compromises of the established congregation?

Well I doubt that this UUA marketing campaign will be successful to the point where UU "churches" are "flooded" with hundreds or thousands of newcomers. Past efforts by the UUA to do marketing campaigns in more localized areas such as Kansas City should provide some indication of how many newcomers might show up at various U*U "churches" as a result of this national marketing campaign for Unitarian*Universalism. None-the-less your question about how U*U "churches" will respond to newcomers whose beliefs may "vary widely from the carefully negotiated compromises of the established congregation" is very pertinent. I expect that a goodly number of people who decide to visit, and even end up joining, U*U "churches" as a result of this marketing campaign will soon discover that so-called "Welcoming Congregations" are considerably less welcoming than the UUA's national advertising campaign leads them to believe.

:Is the contemporary flock of UUA professional ministers and elected officials spiritually adept enough to integrate such an influx?

Not the ones I know. . . Perhaps a few U*U ministers, U*U "church" Boards, and even whole U*U "Welcoming Congregations" may be up to the task of integrating a significant number of new members who arrive on their doorsteps as a result of this marketing effort but I expect that the majority are not up to the task, assuming any significant "influx" results from this national adverting campaign promoting the "Uncommon Denomination".

:Or are they about to call attention to themselves, trumpeting themselves as the antidote for withering spirit and broken world, only to demonstrate their worst qualities in front of their largest audience in fifty years?

This is the scenario that I believe may well play out as a result of this brand-spanking new national marketing campaign. I have good reason to believe that something like what you are proposing here could very well occur, and that this multi-million dollar effort to "grow" U*Uism my just end up biting the U*U "religious community" in the proverbial ass. . .

:How much you want to bet all this crowing about healing the world is an unfunded mandate?

How about a few million dollars Rev. Jack. ;-) As I suggested in my original post above, I have good reason to believe that the UUA may well be putting the marketing horse before the "welcomiing" cart with this national marketing campaign. AFAIAC the UUA would have done well to spend a few million dollars on an internal campaign to educate and encourage U*U "Welcoming Congregations" to be more genuinely welcoming to people of all kinds than they are at the moment. After a few years of preparing U*U "churches" to actually live up to the promise of being "Welcoming Congregations" to ALL kinds of people a national marketing campaign might be unnecessary as sheer word of mouth would do the job of attracting new members. As it is, I expect that the word of mouth of newcomers who respond to this UUA advertising campaign by visiting and/or joining U*U "churches" may end up doing more harm than good.

:On the plus side, I haven't given them any money in over a year, and yet I'll get to hang around and recruit Pirates from all the newcomers they're about to disillusion, so hey, free marketing for me!

I expect that in a goodly number of cases this is very much what will occur. A certain number of newcomers will be attracted to visit and even join UU "Welcoming Congregations" only to discover that they are rather less welcoming than advertised on a number of different fronts, not the least of them being the fact that there seems to be no shortage of anti-religious "Humanist" U*Us sprinkled throughout the U*U World who can be counted on to make Christian-oriented Americans, or otherwise God believing people, feel rather less than genuinely welcome in their "Welcoming Congregations". Then of course there is the issue of politically conservative religious liberals being far from welcome in many U*U "Welcoming Congregations" as well. As I have point out in the past several times, even GBLT people of various persuasions will quickly find themselves to be less than genuinely welcome in U*U "Welcoming Congregations" if they believe in God and/or are political conservatives while being religious liberals. It would seem to me that you are living proof of that equation. N'est-ce pas Cap'n Jack? \

As you may know, you are far from being the exception that proves the rule Rev. Jack. I have good reason to believe that there are many other GBLT people who have found themselves to be rather less than genuinely welcome in the so-called "Welcoming Congregations" of the uncommonly hypocritrical denomination known as Unitarian*Universalism aka U*Uism and sometimes. . . this is simply because they are just a little too 'G', 'B', 'L', or 'T' for U*Us to gwenuinely "accept". . . I am very confident that a good number of gay, bisexual, lesbian, and transgendered human beings will soon find themselves amongst those disillusioned newcomers who are attractec to the oh so inclusive U*U "religious community" by the UUA's national marketing campaign.

Your comment brings to mind a famous saying of Rev. William Sloane Coffin that, most ironically, is amongst those pithy sayings that are displayed on the "Wayside Pulpits" of many U*U "churches" aka "Welcoming Congregations" -

"So you're disillusioned.

Big deal.

All that means is that you were illusioned in the first place."

We have yet to see the actual content and presentaion of the UUA's national marketing campaign in Time magazine but I have little doubt that many people will find themselves quickly disillusioned with Unitarian*Universalism after having been "illusioned in the first place" by this national marketing campaign of the Unitarian*Universalist Association.

Sunday, September 16, 2007 3:19:00 pm  
Blogger Robin Edgar said...

Come to think of it. . .

Here's my ever so minimal, but ever so appropriate. . . reworking of Rev. William Sloane Coffin's insightful epigram -

So U*Us are disillusioned.

Big deal.

All that means is that U*Us were illusioned in the first place." ;-)

Sunday, September 16, 2007 3:31:00 pm  
Blogger Robin Edgar said...

Well I just had another look at the original post on Chris walton's Philocrites blog that alerted me to the UUA's national marketing campaign in Time magazine and there is some commentary that echos and reinforces much of what you and I have stated here Cap'n Jack.

PeaceBang aka Rev. Victoria Weinstein says:

Our church has a lot of programming in place to welcome visitors and seekers but we know that isn't typical. Wouldn't it have been WONDERFUL if the honchos at 25 had thought about letting the congregations know a bit in advance that it would be buying all this expensive advertising!!???

As in, "In a year from now you're likely to get a lot of seekers coming through your doors. Here are some ways you can get ready for that."

But naw... that would be way too practical and cooperative.

end quote

Boy In The Bands aka Rev. Scott Wells of the Universalist National Memorial Church on Washington D.C. says:

I hope you're right about the "advertoria" because when I see "special advertising section" in a periodical, I think "I"m about to be lied-to."

end quote

No kidding Rev. Wells. . . But then again, it would be by no means the first time that the UUA, the CUC or various individual U*U "churches" have lied to people with false advertising to say nothing of fraudulent "covenants", principles and purposes, and other claimed ideals and policies would it?

U*U blogger Steve Caldwell, author of the Liberal Faith Development blog responds to Peacebang's comments by suggesting:

Perhaps congregations should be ready to offer hospitality at all times?

end quote

Of course they should Steve, but the whole point of what I am saying, and what Rev. Jack aka Cap'n Jack, Peacebang aka Rev. Victoria Weinstein and no doubt others are saying is that a good many U*U congregations are anything but ready to offer hospitality at all times. To put it bluntly, many U*U Welcoming Congregations are anything but welcoming to God believing people in general and Christians in particular, as Peacebang makes clear in this very recent post about U*U "Christophobia" and as I and others have repeatedly asserted over the last decade or more.

More later. . .

Sunday, September 16, 2007 5:28:00 pm  
Blogger Swordsandlace said...

Hey there...swordsandlace here. I don't know if you are a Backstreet Boys fan or not, but I just watched their new video "Inconsolable" and there are a lot of shots of eclipses in it. Thought I'd pass that along. I thought it was pretty cool. :)

Sunday, September 16, 2007 5:47:00 pm  

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