The following question was asked at the International Convocation of Unitarian Universalist Women in Houston, Texas on February 28, 2009. This was transcribed by myself, Martin Voelker (corrections welcome). The video has just been made available
DVDs from the ICUUW have been announced check http://portal.icuuw.com/icuuw/store.cfm for availability. The remainder of the questions will follow as I get to it, the opening statements last because these ‘stump speeches’ do not vary much between events. UUA Moderator Gini Courter also spoke and answered questions at this event.
Moderator Margot Adler: [of NPR and Wicca fame]
I want to follow this up because there was a very serious question in the envelope that I got that related to the same thing and I know that Peter did talk about some of the problems of ministers being mostly male but here’s a question that we received in this envelope which I think is pretty pointed, it says:
“Rosemary Mattson is quoted in the Convo [??] Newsletter in this way:
“We don’t want a piece of the pie – it’s still a patriarchal pie. We want to change the recipe”.
In what ways does the UUA still persist as a patriarchal pie, and how would you propose to change the recipe?”
We’ll start with Laurel.
Thank you, Rosemary! [laughter]
It’s changed so much since I was first in the ministry that it may be for younger people to say what needs to be changed in this next chapter but for me still the centrality of male images is still present even though it’s more open that it has ever been before. The ideas of theology which are rational and linear and intellectual will open, break open and be more holistic in time; that’s still part of the recipe that needs to be changed.
We’ve gone a long, long way and I want to acknowledge Rebecca Parker’s part in that in helping us understand the pain and the woundedness that still remains from a patriarchal structure and continues to this day and is replicated in our time.
The recipe – the recipe is for a faith that is whole, that encompasses the body, spirit, as well as the mind. The recipe is authentic, there is no high fructose corn syrup in that recipe [laughter], it’s authentic and real and powerful.
Moderator: The recipe! [laughter]
I don’t know how many of you have actually been to 25 Beacon Street but it reeks of privilege and hierarchy – just walking the building, the photographs one sees, so that’s really like the iconography one sees.
I want to expand this question because it’s about power and relationship actually a little bit beyond gender. Because I think as we look particularly in our own ministry and the roles of women, we made amazing progress in some parts of that. But the real work, I think now, is more around issues of privilege, and class, and gender is only a piece of that.
You know, certainly, if you will, women of color, Latina women, I mean just here in Houston – I mean the situation of women who are Black and Latina is very different from the position of women from the dominant culture. So I think we need to, as we analyze the recipe if you will, if we focus only on gender, we will miss powerful dynamics of inequality that need to be addressed.