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Every denomination needs one of these...

Not a goodbye...

Monday, December 22, 2008

You've probably noticed that I have not posted in awhile and friendly emails asking what is going on have mostly gone unanswered. The quick answer is that I'm taking a step back from the site for awhile. For some time I've been juggling multiple priorities between my family, my full time work and assisting with a couple of start-ups. Working with this site was never a focal point in my life, it filled in gaps of time and gave me a platform to express my opinion while giving others the opportunity to express their opinions. While many people are going through some difficult times in this economy, I'm fortunate and blessed that work is going well. The downside is that it has become more difficult to create time for my biggest priority - my family. As a consequence, I've forced myself to set priorities and, at least for now, UCCtruths didn't make the cut.

My choice was to either hand off the site to someone else, close it down or put it on ice. After considerable thought and after discussion with others involved in the site, I decided that "hiatus" was the right term. The message board will stay open and I will be assigning more moderators so that others can keep up on the threads while keeping them civil.

My intent is to come back when things settle down but I fully recognize there is a potential that I will not be back. In which case, I'd like to wrap with potentially one last commentary on the United Church of Christ.

Embracing dissent and difference of opinion is an important part any dynamic group whether it's our government, our work, our religion or an online group of malcontents. As cliche as it sounds, Working through the tension of division always makes the group stronger.

The United Church of Christ leadership would be wise to embrace those with which they disagree with the most... and not just those they deem "loving critics". To this day, I don't know if UCCtruths was considered a "loving critic"... and I don't really care - the idea that the one being criticized can determine which criticism is valid seems a little too convenient and a little too self serving.

Our faith heritage is full of dissent and I'm glad I was able to add my voice to the chorus. In over 5 years, this web site has generated millions of views. The message board contains tens of thousands of messages by over 500 users and was recently recognized as one of the top 2% in Yahoo Groups. My purpose for the site was never to change the UCC but to find an audience of UCC members that would use this site as just one of many sources of information about the denomination. We found an audience looking to embrace dissent even if they did not always agree with it.

Dissent doesn't always mean you are right. I'm particularly thankful for those who tolerated my rants even when I was wrong. The web is an imperfect medium of listening, learning and responding... and not always in that order.

Like I mentioned earlier in this post, it's my intent to come back to this at some point in the future but there are no guarentees. If nothing else, I'll be popping up on the message board periodically to spout off. Till then...
posted by UCCtruths, Monday, December 22, 2008


Wow, UCCTruths is shutting down! It really IS Christmas. :)
commented by Blogger David, 1:37 PM  

As one past child-raising years, I applaud your (re)prioritizing your family. Joys of the season of the year and of your life to you.
commented by Blogger Don Niederfrank, 10:09 AM  
Chances are pretty good that when the UCC passes the euthanasia death resolution this summer, another faithful witness group will spring up……
commented by Blogger daver, 9:30 AM  
1) It seems to be a positive sign for the UCC when UCCtruths has nothing to talk about. It may mean that fewer offensive injustices are ahppening acgainst ECOTS. Ever since heads rolled at stillspeaking.com and UC News, I feel like there have been fewer articles or JWM press releases that boiled my blood. The "mostly progressive" news-propaganda machine of 2005 and 2006 has come to a screeching halt for unknown reasons. Maybe this is what progress feels like?! Maybe "they" finally heard and understood why the ECOTs were throwing shoes.
2) Just because there is no news published doesn't mean things aren't happening out of view. During this long period of seemingly healthy silence, decisions loom... like who should be our next General Minister and President... what (if any) changes should be made to streamline the executive structure of the UCC... what resolutions should be passed in Grand Rapids? ... I have to admit I don't really care anymore. I stopped attending my UCC church on Trinity Sunday 2008 and haven't been back since.
3) In the 1960's, many mainliners found a purpose in protest. As civil rights for racial minorities became a reality, many UCC leaders looked for the "next big thing" to protest. Perhaps their error was in "Still Speaking" when they should have focused on other priorites. Glad to hear that James Hutchens knows when to speak and when to be quiet.
4) Yeah, that's all I have. I should have stuck with three.

Grace and Peace,
commented by Blogger RVARockfish, 4:07 AM  
In my view, UCCtruths has been a "loving critic". Thanks for all you have done.


Sorry to hear that you stopped attending your UCC church. I agree that there appears to have been some progress made at UCCnews, and that they appear to have listened to some of the criticism.

Jeff Fairchild
commented by Blogger Unknown, 11:03 AM  
Well, thank you for everything, James.

I now lurk only, posting but rarely (as with this), usually reading the digest, but even that less and less to the point I'm thinking of unsubscribing.

The UCC at the national level is so far gone I think it's irremediable and even my local church lurches leftward. Well, so far I've only voted with my checkbook, not my feet, but it's not so far away.... Were it not for so many friends -- most of whom are indifferent to the theology and essentially take no notice of it other than when it hits them in the face -- I'd have been long gone, perhaps a decade ago. Problem is there really isn't anything like what the CCC was in the late '50s - theologically relatively open (with the right of private judgment and a lack of dogma), classically liberal, tolerant, pro-American, but still recognizably Christian.
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your blog is feel good......
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