Shopping is Important

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Our Unitarian-Universalist (UU) congregation is shopping for a new minister. Now I'm not sure, maybe you can help me out here, but if a Catholic priest wants a new congregation, I think he has to ask the Bishop for a transfer and pray he gets one that suits him better. Not so with a UU minister! Ours went shopping for a new congregation, kind of like dating on She checked them out, they checked her out and they're going for it. I will miss her tremendously and wish her well on her journey to Ohio, where a lucky congregation will hear an eloquent, thoughtful preacher on Sundays.

I like the dating analogy, but I've never shopped for a date on, so I'm going to compare the minister search with something I have shopped for. Imagine an intergenerational family who have had a few cars over the last 45 years, but for about half that time has had no car at all. To the family elders, not having a car is something that happens periodically. You just pool your $ and rent cars when you need them. You take the train and the bus, or you walk or bike. The younger people think that's a nice idea, but not very practical. Although it may be ok for the short term, in the long run, the family will get another car, so why not get it right away? Another group advocates getting a loaner; some people groan when they recall the last loaner, oy!

The 5th UU principle affirms the use of the democratic process within our congregations, and it's the same way in this family. Everyone gets a say, and then they say it again. The family rule book is brought out, stories are told about the way the last car was purchased, and those with training in business practices, psychology, and Buddhism back up their opinions with their knowledge and experience. Experts are brought in and family meetings are held. So many family meetings are exhausting! But all agree that this is an important, expensive purchase and will have consequences for years to come. Some family members may decide to move out of the intergenerational housing complex temporarily, or even permanently, if the discussions take too long. However, some in the family believe that moving too quickly could result in getting a car that's all wrong. Choosing the wrong car would be terrible, and they'd be back where they started, shopping again!

What should the family do? Go with the experts' recommendations? Get a loaner? Get the best car possible in the shortest possible time before too many people move out? Take a year or 2 to reflect on the options? Write new family rules? No, really, the family needs your help, please comment! Shopping is important; proceed with caution...


  • Patience Grasshopper.

    By Blogger Natalie, at 4:06 PM  

  • Well put. My opinion for what it's worth: the value of getting someone who can really lead us and challenge us cannot be overrated. My family is in this for the long haul, so I say we take the expert advice and do it right. If we can do it this year, great, but let's not just take what we can get.

    By Blogger Jason Knapp, at 11:26 PM  

  • Anna Banana-so this is your secret life. I never would have guessed! We have talked about this and I like your analogy. I think we need to think outside of the box right now. Can we come up with some creative interim options? Tonight will tell.


    By Blogger Pacific Oceanic, at 10:24 AM  

  • I enjoyed your well written and neaningful blog. Can we stretch things and say we need a mission statement for the new car?Some would want the car to be strictly functional -stick to business as they see it, use for applications that are well defined...the car should be cheap..lets call them secularists.
    Others might want the car to be more expansive, a vehicle to open new horizons or bring new things into one's life. Lets call them spiritualists.
    In the long run isn't it better for the family members to understand each other's perspective
    and try to choose a vehicle that will meet the combined wishes of what can be a very heterogenous group?
    I am in the position of having already missed Kathys' sermons so I can tell you that the decision is too important to be left to advice from so called professionals - good luck and good driving!

    By Blogger overthehiller, at 3:05 PM  

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