“Generation Exodus” — Training UU Prophets & Secret Agents

At the ordination of Jason Lydon on September 19th, 2010 the Rev. Ian White Maher delivered words addressing the perspective of what he referred to as “the exodus generation.” This is a phrase he cites as being shared by our colleague the Rev. Christana Willie McKnight.

You should read his charge to Jason – really to all of us. With permission Anna Snoeyenbos has posted it on her blog, Deep River Faith.

There are some great points made in this address.

Here is a quote to help you make the decision to read it in full.  I’d love to hear your thoughts.

We are insular and often irrelevant. Many members in our older generations are plagued with resentments of how they were raised and the younger generations, well, they leave largely because these resentments have impoverished our spiritual life. I am tired of the young generation leaving the movement, because we are not fed here. A colleague calls us the exodus generation wandering without a home. So many of us who came to see you ordained here today grew up with people, friends of ours, who are no longer churched because there is no place for them. There is no place for spiritual adventurism. I don’t think the older generations are trying to trick us into believing that the seven principles are actually theology with this Build Your Own Theology crap. I just think they don’t know any better. The seven principles are not theology. They are a substitute for theology. They are for people who want talk about theology rather than live it. It is not necessarily their fault, but we must get inside so we can change that.

It goes on to discuss the ministry of a Christian Church training you to be “Secret Agents for God” and our need to create space for our prophets and to create a ministry for “those in the exodus generation who need young ministers to demand the older generations deal with their damaged religious pasts so we can have a vibrant and accepting church.”


5 thoughts on ““Generation Exodus” — Training UU Prophets & Secret Agents

  1. “not that I want to win people over with subterfuge” haha.
    thanks for sharing this Peter, the message is powerful, and I hope speaks to others who, unlike myself, aren’t a part of the gen-exodus.

  2. I agree entirely- Ian and Christana articulate something that has been a central frustration with my life in Unitarian Universalism and my ministry- especially with youth/young adults who grew up UU. But then again, both Ian and Christana have a knack for finding words to express what I feel.
    My hope that we might turn a corner with our Exodus Generation comes from our opportunity to take the lead in faith-based responses to issues like the ecological crisis and interfaith relations, and that we don’t forget to share with each other and the world our Universalist theology which is inherently inclusive, loving and saving for all.

  3. Amen. Amen. Amen. Blessed Be. As a community minister I dance a shifting line between living the theology and preaching it back into churches. I, like other community ministers, am a proverbial “stepchild” of the formal organization: all the costs of joining, none of the benefits. As a U/U who can trace my UU lineage back at least 5 generations I went into community ministry because of my frustration with a denomination that was so busy juggling in-switchers’ religious baggage that there seemed to be no room left for us who don’t struggle with that baggage, but want to live out our religious ancestry in a way that will deepen our spiritual selves forward. And yet, as part of the authentication process as a community minister in this, my inherited faith, I am asked to prove myself in ways that parish ministers, even recent converts, don’t. Meanwhile, my community ministry is one big UU-vangelical service to the unchurched, the spiritually wounded, the downtrodden, the voiceless. I am neither inside the church nor outside it; it is a strange place to be but the only place I can stand with integrity to my faith. I hunger for prophetic company from my own denomination–something I so far have had to go to other denominations to find–and the opportunity to live amongst, share with, and train our prophets.

  4. Rev. Carlson, Rev. Groth and Justine – I’m so glad to hear that this resonated with you as much as it did with me. (This is Anna Snoeyenbos from http://www.deepriverfaith.com.) This is an open invitation to continue the conversation – I would love to hear more about how you think we can address these issues. I’m passionately dedicated to this work. You can reach me at deepriverfaith@gmail.com.

    I have a lot of hope and faith that we can shift the culture of our denomination if we stand together!

  5. Thank God (and yes, I do mean that) some of us are beginning to point out how the resentments and preoccupations of the Baby Boomer and Silent Generations have been allowed for too long to stifle real theological thought and deep spiritual engagement in UUism. As a certified Baby Boomer myself, I have moved beyond frustration into embarrassment at the way the self-preoccupations of my age cohort–now in leadership–have managed to turn this faith that prates so much about multi this and that into an echo chamber that reflects back to us nothing but our own stale thinking. Please, young people, keep speaking truth to power, because we are now the power that needs to hear the truth.

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