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: - 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: - 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 -

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Reverend Doctor Or Reverend Debtor? The Obvious And Subtle Consequences Of The Debt Peonage Of U*U Ministers. . .

Within the last week or so there have been several blog posts about the debt load that U*U ministers carry as a result of the high cost of the university education that is required to become an ordained U*U minister. Rev. Christine Robinson just posted a brand-spanking new one titled 'The Cost of Ministerial Formation'. I am pretty sure that she is using the word "cost" in its fullest sense here, not just the financial/monetary cost of the high cost of ministerial formation. . . Amongst other things Rev. Robinson says - "This is causing all kinds of obvious and subtle consequences and so... folks are talking."

U*Us might be well advised to read *costs*, both financial costs and otherwise, where Rev. Robinson says "consequences". . .

Here is how I responded to Rev. Robinson's statement in a comment that I submitted to her iminister blog post. This critical comment courtesy of The Emerson Avenger may or may not see the light of day on Rev. Robinson's iminister blog depending on which side of caution Rev. Robinsion cares to err today. . . :-) Some typos have been corrected and I may add some more (im)pertinent links to it later -

It seems to me that one of the possible subtle consequences of such a high debt load, if not a glaringly obvious one. . . is that U*U seminarians and rookie ministers may be afraid to speak out against internal U*U injustices and abuses for fear of losing their existing or prospective jobs in retaliation for any whistle-blowing they might do. It seems to me that the greater the debt load a minister carries the less likely they are to dare to rock the proverbial boat. Does anyone care to talk about *that* potential consequence of a high debt load? Are U*U seminarians and rookie ministers *beholden* to the UUA and the U*U congregations who might hire them as ministers?

It's bad enough that there is a Code of Silence forbidding U*U ministers to publicly criticize their colleagues written into the UUMA Guidelines, to say nothing of an even worse unwritten Code of Silence that too many U*U ministers hold to, but this apparent modern variation on "debt peonage" whereby U*U ministers must spend a decade or more repaying the debt they accumulated earning the MDivs or PhDs is just a tad troubling. . .

Does Reverend Doctor = Reverend Debtor?

Apparently so. . .

end quote

Rev. Robinson concludes her blog post sharing her concerns about the high cost of ministerial formation with these prophetic words -

"I grieve for the many people of modest means who will not be able to afford to prepare for our ministry, and I grieve for what we are missing from them. I also worry that our current situation fills our ministry with people who are so sure of their call from the very beginning, or so heedless of the financial risks that they are taking that they will do this...leading to a ministry devoid of the more humble, frugal, and cautious persons who would also serve us well."

I have to admit that I have not met very many humble, frugal, and cautious Unitarian*Universalist ministers.

Au contraire. . .

Yes there are a few exceptions who are indeed quite humble and cautious, and even frugal but God knows that there are a few too many U*U ministers who display far more hubris than humbleness and are anything but cautious in the harmful and damaging things that they say and/or do. No I dare say that it is not only financial risks that these prideful and arrogant U*U ministers are heedless of although these non-financial risks that they so heedlessly and indeed so foolishly take ultimately cost the UUA and individual U*U congegations plenty of money, if only in the form of the loss of the pledges and donations of actual or prospective church members. Could it be that the apparent lack of humble, frugal, and cautious Unitarian*Universalist ministers is one of the reasons that Unitarian*Universalism is "a tiny, declining, fringe religion" according to UUA President Peter Morales?

Come to think of it. . . it wasn't all that humble or cautious of Rev. Morales to dismissively write off pretty much every other religion in the world as "obsolete religions, created for another time" in his "stump speech" announcing his candidacy for UUA President. Is UUA President Peter Morales completely heedless of, aka oblivious to. . . the risk of his well-documented blanket condemnation of pretty much all of the *other* religions in the world in his misguided effort to try to present Unitarian*Universalism aka The Tiny Declining Fringe Religion™ as "the religion for our time"? It seems to me that if President Morales was not *heedless* of that risk that he would have responsibly acknowledged that he "misspoke" a bit and "recalibrated" his "loose canon" blanket condemnation of a whole bunch of "old religions" by now. . .

Here is one last cautionary note playing off of, and expanding upon, Rev. Christine Robinson's cautionary words -

Unitarian*Universalist ministers who are "heedless of the financial risks that they are taking" when entering seminary to become U*U ministers may well be similarly heedless of the serious financial risks that they may take in the future with their church finances, or indeed UUA finances if or when these U*U ministers become UUA administrators.

Can U*Us say Pathways Fiasco?

That is but one single example, amongst too many others I know of (and no doubt even more U*U financial shit*uations that I am completely unaware of. . .), how "less than humble", "less than frugal", and "less than cautious" U*U ministers have flushed many thousands of dollars, if not some millions of dollars. . . down the proverbial toilet.

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