Identity Based Ministry

There is much of Youngblood’s theological and organizational
thinking that I am sympathetic too in this example. Part of what I am not in agreement on was his
concept of church rule by an all-male board of elders. (7) I
believe strongly that leadership needs to be shared among the constituency with
regard to gender, age, race, sexual orientation and class, and that to ignore
or isolate on identity group into leadership is not in tune with building the
beloved community. Such actions reinforce
oppressive dynamics, in this case patriarchy and ageism, which can drain the
community’s energy as well as distract them from the mission and purpose of the
congregation.

I appreciate Youngblood’s effort at identifying a missing
part of the community and intentionally organizing the missing part through a
ministry that interconnects them as a group into the larger community. I believe this is necessary and appropriate
for many identity based constituencies, and in Unitarian Universalism one of
the most marginalized and missing peoples are people who identify as persons of
color, of African, Latino/a, American Indian, Arabic, and Asian/Pacific
Islander racial and/or cultural descent. I seek to follow the spirit of Youngblood’s Eldad-Medad in understanding
the interconnection between peoples from a group-based analysis, for example
men and women, people of color and white, and concentrate pastoral care and
spiritual development time and money with such groups that are absent but
present in the immediate surrounding physical community. This requires a level of focused theological
reflection and while Youngblood drew on his doctoral dissertation entitled
“Beyond the Conspicuous Absence and the Controversial Presence of the Black
Male in the Local church”, I admit that I may not be able to develop such
comprehensive theological analysis. Nevertheless, I am committed to the principles of ministry to missing
constituencies in the context of the larger community, and strive to
interconnect such ministry together.

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