On Making Trouble

Periodically I mention that UUA President Peter Morales once uplifted the value of trouble makers in a GA worship service.  People always want the reference.  Here it is.

This is from the General Assembly 2010 Sunday Morning Worship.  Emphasis below is mine. In the video of this service, jump to time 56 min 18 seconds to watch this moment.

Rev. Peter Morales Preaching

I had a conversation last year with a famous expert on organizational change—Harvard professor has written a shelf full of books. And in that conversation he made a comment that has haunted me for a year. He observed that when an organization fails it is almost never its problems that kill it. What kills it is its past success. What kills it is its past success. And what he meant was that problems tend to be technical and solvable, but that people have a tendency to hold onto the past, to old ways of doing things even when they’re no longer relevant because the past has become part of their identity. And this holding onto the past kills the organization. What are we hanging onto that no longer serves us?

We need to remind ourselves that our heroes and heroines were always people who knew how to let go, who saw new possibilities, and who were bold. The best way for us to honor the past is to be like them. To push for change, to forge a vision of a new future, and yes, to make trouble.


I’m going to regret having said that. What a time to be alive as a Unitarian Universalist. The possibilities before us are breathtaking. In a world where sectarianism and tribalism and xenophobia marginalize and kill, we bring a message of the inherent worth and dignity of everyone. We honor wisdom from all traditions. We bring a life-giving message of acceptance and interdependence. In a world of lonely people looking for real community we offer religious homes where we can grow together, worship together, and serve together. Where we can save our lives and help save the world.