This article briefly mentioned the decision at Starr King School for the Ministry to stop using the term "brown bag" to describe lunchtime talks where one brings one's lunch to the talk. This is due to the historical association between brown bags and colorism discrimination.
One good place to find many links to these blog conversations is Philocrites blog article "Brown bag landmines, culling the affiliates, and more."
The Unitarian Universalist minister author of Ms. Kitty's Saloon and Road Show commented on her concerns about ministerial collegiality in the "brown bag" blog conversations.
One of the replies to Ms. Kitty's concerns voiced her belief that a criticism of an ideology should be permissible:
"An ideology was being critiqued. Ain't no guidelines against that and I hope to God there never will be."Of course, this comment opens up the question what's an ideology and what's a sincerely held religious belief?
The online Merriam-Websters provides "a systematic body of concepts especially about human life or culture" as one definition for "ideology."
Since an ideology is just a term to describe an organized collection of ideas, the term would include most religious belief systems (e.g. Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, Paganism, Humanism, etc).
Do we want any ideologies to be off-limits from criticism in Unitarian Universalist communities?
For example, would a "Dawkins" or "Harris" criticism of belief in God and traditional religion be OK or would that be off-limits in a Unitarian Universalist setting?
I guess that Unitarian Universalist Christians will need to remove the term "Christian-bashing" from their vocabularies for two reasons:
- To the best of my knowledge, no one has ever been "bashed" (physically assaulted) for being a Christian in a Unitarian Universalist congregation or other settings -- mostly it's a verbal criticism of ideology.
- Criticism of ideology is OK for some Unitarian Universalists and some Unitarian Universalist Christians.
I think that no ideology or system of belief is so sacred that we cannot look at it critically.
However, I do see a problem with excessive criticism of ideologies in our congregations.
How do we examine an ideology critically in such a way that we don't shut down communication and eventually end up in the heated ritualistic exchange of verb-pronoun combinations?