The New York Times has a longish story today about an internal fight going on at the Starr King School for the Ministry in Berkeley, CA, where Unitarian Universalists apparently go for advanced theological instruction. Yes, that would seem like a short curriculum to me, too; either that or it’s one of those mail order diploma mills where you send in 25 cents and two cereal boxtops, and you’ll be given a diploma to ply your trade at the nearest congregation of the Church of What’s Happening Now.
But apparently there’s been a bitter fight about selecting a new president for this important institution, and some students who got in the fray are having their emails scrutinized, etc. The punch line, though, comes in the very last paragraph, with a quote from one of students whose diploma is being withheld:
“Unitarian Universalism is not a theologically grounded religion,” Ms. Brock said. “If we mess up our principles and values, we don’t have a theology to fall back on. We’re not Catholic — we can’t just keep giving communion until we figure it out. If we don’t have our values figured out, our institutions become pointless bureaucracies.”
Evelyn Waugh or Peter DeVries could hardly write better satire than this.
UPDATE: A friend who attended another seminary clustered at Berkeley writes in:
Used to joke about Starr King when I was across the street at my seminary. Said they taught basket weaving as theology. Lo and behold, one term they listed “the Spirituality of Native American Basket Making” as an actual class.