You know how Garrison Keillor is always giving UUs a hard time with his Unitarian jokes and left-handed compliments? It's hard to know whether to laugh or be offended sometimes.
I've decided that he really doesn't like us very much and likes to twit us. He's an Episcopalian, I understand, despite his much-vaunted Lake Woebegon upbringing in the fictitious Sanctified Brethren.
It used to bother me a bit, but I've realized that he has accidentally honored us by inadvertently designating us Unitarian Universalists as America's Holy Fools.
You know what the archetype Fool is, don't you? S/he's the one who's out there ahead of the pack, doing foolish things, supporting impossible causes, unafraid of looking weird, because the Fool sees things more clearly than others. The Fool expresses what s/he sees without fear and trepidation about what others will think.
Think Don Quijote. Think the little boy who said that the emperor has no clothes. Think Unitarian Bronson Alcott, who taught sex education in his school in the 19th century and endured ridicule and financial ruin. Think abolitionists and protectors of prisoners and the insane. Think public education for all. Think religious freedom. Think marriage equality and civil rights for sexual minorities.
The foolish idealist is our religious archetype. And when Garrison Keillor ridicules us, he underlines our value---that we are out there at the far edge of the curve, advocating for causes that few others consider worthwhile. Yet.
If the price of justice is ridicule, I'm okay with that.