Interview with Not-So-Obscure PHILOCRITES!

Philocrites, one of our very own powerhouse Unitarian Universalist bloggers, and an inspiration to some of us low-level types, agreed to share some of his thoughts to several questions posed from a fellow blogger, young adult friend and seminarian, oh yeah, we both work at the UUA.  Jeez, makes it seem like I’m just following in his wake.  Oh yeah.  Anyway, I’ve been off the blogging routine of late, soaking up the Filipino life, culture, customs, driving habits.  But I’m dedicating myself to pour some discipline with a dose of wit into some more writing.  Pray I stay on the good side of the Lord.  But I don’t believe in the Lord as such!  Thanks Philocrites, fabulous dialogue. 

1. How did you become, in the words of Jon Stewart, "obscure and literary"?

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I have no idea! I went to bed one night entirely innocent and woke up the next morning to find an email from my sister-in-law out in L.A. saying that she had seen my blog on "The Daily Show." Needless to say, that\’s not the sort of thing you hear every day: "Hey! I saw your blog on TV!" I\’d be happy hearing that people saw it on their computers. But several other friends and a few people I\’d never heard of also wrote over night to tell me about the show. 
I don\’t have cable TV, so I couldn\’t watch a rerun. I had to find someone who recorded the segment and put it on the Web to be sure that my friends weren\’t all just pulling my leg. And sure enough, there it was.
A screen shot of "Philocrites" showed up very briefly in a segment by Rob Corddry parodying political blogs. If you want a blog, he says, first you have to pick an ideology — "arch-liberal" or "arch-conservative" are the only options, of course — and then you pick a name. He showed several made-up conservative blogs first. "FreeForceAmerica.com" and "StrongEagleCitadel.org," for example. And then he turned to the liberals. "If you\’re a liberal, you want to show people you\’re smarter than they are. Try something obscure and literary." Two blogs illustrate his point: "Eschaton" (a hugely popular blog by Atrios) and "Philocrites." 
Ouch! But thanks for the publicity!
And how did I get so obscure and literary? The obscurity came from growing up in Orem, Utah. The literariness came from an English literature degree and a minor in classical Greek. I made up the name "philocrites" from two Greek words for love and criticism (or judgment). 

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I
have no idea! I went to bed one night entirely innocent and woke up the
next morning to find an email from my sister-in-law out in L.A. saying
that she had seen my blog on "The Daily Show." Needless to say, that’s
not the sort of thing you hear every day: "Hey! I saw your blog on TV!"
I’d be happy hearing that people saw it on their computers. But several
other friends and a few people I’d never heard of also wrote over night
to tell me about the show.
I don’t have cable
TV, so I couldn’t watch a rerun. I had to find someone who recorded the
segment and put it on the Web to be sure that my friends weren’t all
just pulling my leg. And sure enough, there it was.
A
screen shot of "Philocrites" showed up very briefly in a segment by Rob
Corddry parodying political blogs. If you want a blog, he says, first
you have to pick an ideology — "arch-liberal" or "arch-conservative"
are the only options, of course — and then you pick a name. He showed
several made-up conservative blogs first. "FreeForceAmerica.com" and
"StrongEagleCitadel.org," for example. And then he turned to the
liberals. "If you’re a liberal, you want to show people you’re smarter
than they are. Try something obscure and literary." Two blogs
illustrate his point: "Eschaton" (a hugely popular blog by Atrios) and
"Philocrites."
Ouch! But thanks for the publicity!
And
how did I get so obscure and literary? The obscurity came from growing
up in Orem, Utah. The literariness came from an English literature
degree and a minor in classical Greek. I made up the name "philocrites"
from two Greek words for love and criticism (or judgment).

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D([“mb”,”

2. Is it true you were the President of the UU Young Adults in a previous life?  What was that like?

“,1]
);
D([“mb”,”

King, not president! Just kidding. I was elected facilitator of C*UUYAN at the Opus young adult conference in 1995. I served one term on C*UUYAN\’s steering committee. The experience was really interesting and I worked with a great group of people. I\’m proud of the way we helped C*UUYAN and the UUA move toward a closer relationship. (I also was responsible for the second General Assembly bridging ceremony.)
I was a local young adult group leader from Salt Lake City, from a group that had no connections to the continental young adult "movement" and, with few exceptions, no ties to YRUU. Many of us were just church-going young adults. I got connected to C*UUYAN through the 1995 General Assembly\’s young adult programming, and enjoyed it so much I went to Opus later that summer. I\’ve only been to one other young adult conference, a ConCentric near Buffalo, New York, maybe five years ago, but ever since I moved to the Boston area in 1996, I largely dropped out of the UU young adult scene. I officially "aged out" earlier this month.

“,1]
);
D([“mb”,”

3. If you could write a book, what would it be on?

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);

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2. Is it true you were the President of the UU Young Adults in a previous life?  What was that like?

King,
not president! Just kidding. I was elected facilitator of C*UUYAN at
the Opus young adult conference in 1995. I served one term on C*UUYAN’s
steering committee. The experience was really interesting and I worked
with a great group of people. I’m proud of the way we helped C*UUYAN
and the UUA move toward a closer relationship. (I also was responsible
for the second General Assembly bridging ceremony.)
I
was a local young adult group leader from Salt Lake City, from a group
that had no connections to the continental young adult "movement" and,
with few exceptions, no ties to YRUU. Many of us were just church-going
young adults. I got connected to C*UUYAN through the 1995 General
Assembly’s young adult programming, and enjoyed it so much I went to
Opus later that summer. I’ve only been to one other young adult
conference, a ConCentric near Buffalo, New York, maybe five years ago,
but ever since I moved to the Boston area in 1996, I largely dropped
out of the UU young adult scene. I officially "aged out" earlier this
month.

3. If you could write a book, what would it be on?

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So many ideas, so little time! My wife and I have talked about a book project about the religious history of a prominent Massachusetts family that played important roles in Congregational, Unitarian, and Episcopal churches in the course of three generations. I have no idea when we\’ll find the time to do the research that would require. To be honest, though, I haven\’t spent a lot of time thinking about book ideas. I\’d be happy to find the time to write more articles.

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);
D([“mb”,”

4. You finished your MDIV at Harvard, did you ever plan to be a UU minister?  What happened?

“,1]
);
D([“mb”,”

Yes, I went to Harvard to study for the UU ministry. The short version of my story is that I graduated in 2000 before I had completed all the requirements for ministerial fellowship and really needed to find work that would let me start paying back my loans. When I landed a job at UU World, I found that I really enjoyed editing — and when my wife decided she wanted to become an Episcopal priest, I decided that I\’d much rather focus on being an editor and helping her be a great minister than trying to do the interfaith, two-minister-household thing. She\’ll be ordained next summer, so I\’m going to be a clergy spouse with my very own M.Div.! I do get several preaching opportunities in UU churches each year, which I really enjoy.

“,1]
);

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So
many ideas, so little time! My wife and I have talked about a book
project about the religious history of a prominent Massachusetts family
that played important roles in Congregational, Unitarian, and Episcopal
churches in the course of three generations. I have no idea when we’ll
find the time to do the research that would require. To be honest,
though, I haven’t spent a lot of time thinking about book ideas. I’d be
happy to find the time to write more articles.

4. You finished your MDIV at Harvard, did you ever plan to be a UU minister?  What happened?

Yes,
I went to Harvard to study for the UU ministry. The short version of my
story is that I graduated in 2000 before I had completed all the
requirements for ministerial fellowship and really needed to find work
that would let me start paying back my loans. When I landed a job at UU
World, I found that I really enjoyed editing — and when my wife
decided she wanted to become an Episcopal priest, I decided that I’d
much rather focus on being an editor and helping her be a great
minister than trying to do the interfaith, two-minister-household
thing. She’ll be ordained next summer, so I’m going to be a clergy
spouse with my very own M.Div.! I do get several preaching
opportunities in UU churches each year, which I really enjoy.<!–
D([“mb”,”

5. Whats it like being top dog at the flagship UU print publication, the UU World?

“,1]
);

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5. Whats it like being top dog at the flagship UU print publication, the UU World?

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D([“mb”,”

Busy and exciting. It\’s a good magazine with a long and winding history, and I\’ve got a great staff. I\’m looking forward to seeing what we can do next. Fundamentally, I\’m convinced that publishing is one of the things Unitarian Universalists have historically done best — and that our media can do much more to spread liberal religious ideas, voices, and values today. We\’re now trying to use the Web to expand the reach of UU World far beyond members of UU congregations, but we\’ve only just started to scratch the surface of what\’s possible. 
The magazine has denominational predecessors back in the early 19th century, but in reality UU World is heir to two more recent publishing enterprises: In 1970 the UUA started producing a newspaper which it sent to every UU household — something the UUA had never done before. That was the first "Unitarian Universalist World." The second thing is that UUA President William F. Schulz turned the newspaper into a bimonthly magazine, "World," in 1986 and encouraged it to take a much larger view with feature stories about big topics rather than focusing entirely on denominational news. Today\’s "UU World" is a quarterly magazine that continues the magazine tradition Schulz began, but our weekly online magazine, uuworld.org, publishes more denominational and congregational news than the bimonthly magazine could.
(By the way, UU World\’s MySpace page — http://www.myspace.com/uuworld — lists the magazine as 20 years old because we consider 1986 "Volume 1" of the magazine. That\’s some trivia for you!)
And although you didn\’t ask about this, I\’ll add that blogging has helped the magazine locate some new writers — including several young adults. Doug Muder, Hafidha Acuay, Peg Duthie, and Enrique Gomez are a few of the writers I encountered first through their online writing and then approached for the magazine. I\’m always looking for great writers!”,1]
);

//–>

Busy
and exciting. It’s a good magazine with a long and winding history, and
I’ve got a great staff. I’m looking forward to seeing what we can do
next. Fundamentally, I’m convinced that publishing is one of the things
Unitarian Universalists have historically done best — and that our
media can do much more to spread liberal religious ideas, voices, and
values today. We’re now trying to use the Web to expand the reach of UU
World far beyond members of UU congregations, but we’ve only just
started to scratch the surface of what’s possible.
The
magazine has denominational predecessors back in the early 19th
century, but in reality UU World is heir to two more recent publishing
enterprises: In 1970 the UUA started producing a newspaper which it
sent to every UU household — something the UUA had never done before.
That was the first "Unitarian Universalist World." The second thing is
that UUA President William F. Schulz turned the newspaper into a
bimonthly magazine, "World," in 1986 and encouraged it to take a much
larger view with feature stories about big topics rather than focusing
entirely on denominational news. Today’s "UU World" is a quarterly
magazine that continues the magazine tradition Schulz began, but our
weekly online magazine, uuworld.org, publishes more denominational and congregational news than the bimonthly magazine could.
(By the way, UU World’s MySpace page — http://www.myspace.com/uuworld — lists the magazine as 20 years old because we consider 1986 "Volume 1" of the magazine. That’s some trivia for you!)
And
although you didn’t ask about this, I’ll add that blogging has helped
the magazine locate some new writers — including several young adults.
Doug Muder, Hafidha Acuay, Peg Duthie, and Enrique Gomez are a few of
the writers I encountered first through their online writing and then
approached for the magazine. I’m always looking for great writers!<!–
D([“mb”,”
Thanks for asking.
Here\’s my author page at uuworld.org:
Here\’s information about writing for UU World:

Philocrites: Commentary on liberalism, religion, and culture

\n”,0]
);

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Thanks for asking.
Here’s my author page at uuworld.org:
http://www.uuworld.org/about/authors/christopherlwalton.shtml
Here’s information about writing for UU World:
http://www.uuworld.org/about/submissionsguidelines.shtml

Philocrites: Commentary on liberalism, religion, and culture

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