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The Gadfly Papers: Three Inconvenient Essays by One Pesky Minister

3.48  ·  Rating details ·  61 ratings  ·  13 reviews
The Gadfly Papers is a collection of three essays written by Rev. Dr. Todd F. Eklof about the negative impacts the emerging culture of Political Correctness, Safetyism, and Identitarianism is having on America's most liberal religion. It's written specifically for Unitarian Universalists who care about the future of their faith, but will prove of interest to anyone seeking ...more
Kindle Edition, 110 pages
Published May 26th 2019
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Alicia Bayer
Jun 27, 2019 rated it liked it
As a Unitarian Universalist, I first heard about this book via a post on Facebook saying that hundreds of UU ministers had signed a letter condemning it. While my first reaction was to applaud the ministers for speaking out against something I assumed must be harmful, I was a little concerned when I found out that most of them refused to read it before signing the letter.

I wanted to read this book myself before condemning it. That just seems like common sense to me. I'm glad I did, and I don't
Jon Fox
Jun 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is an exceptionally brave work, published during the throes of a moral panic centered on accusations of systemic racism within the Unitarian Universalist Association. Rev. Eklof shares views on the rising tide of identitarianism and proclamations of innate white guilt in a faith previously proclaiming universal salvation and innate worth and dignity. For many who have puzzled over or mourned the direction of UUism, this book will be informative and distressing or chastening. Having read the ...more
Jun 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I agree with much that is said here. But even if I didn't I would give it 5 stars for the moral courage to speak his mind. He's far from alone, even among clergy, in these assertions. But clergy and leadership have been bullied into silence and compliance. More on my blog
What kind of UU Faith is that?
If it's a bunch of crap, no worries. It will go in the circular file of history. BUT what if it makes valid points? People will try to suppress, censor, and discredit it. That's what's going on wi
Aug 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is a little book that raised controversy when it came out. Rev. Dr. Todd Eklof wrote the book in response to changes in the language and actions within the Unitarian Universalist (UU) Church of America and released the book at its denominational conference. Todd is my minister and I generally agree with his thinking but, in this case, not necessarily with all of his presentation. There are two basic parts of the book: the theological direction of the church and complaints that the Church an ...more
Jan 20, 2020 rated it really liked it
I read this coming just off the heels of finishing The Coddling of the American Mind, a book directly referenced by Eklof many times as he speaks, from the perspective of somebody who has been deeply involved in Unitarian Universalism at the denominational level, to his concerns regarding how some in leadership have chosen to address the issue of racism at the individual and institutional levels. The distinction between individual and institutional-level racism is critical, as one key elements o ...more
Frank Strada
Aug 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: books-reviewed
As a member of a UU church, I felt I had to read this book, in spite of the protests among members, or perhaps in part because of the protests, made by some who had not read the book.

However, as a (left) liberal and a citizen in a democracy, I have lately been very frustrated with where the student leaders, with their professor cheerleaders, on some college campuses have taken us. For example, preventing a speaker at Berkeley, the home of the free speech movement, from speaking because they did
Sep 18, 2019 rated it did not like it
I can't recommend this book. For a better analysis than I can provide, search for "I read The Gadfly Papers so you won't have to." ...more
Nov 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I found this to be a thought-provoking book on the state of Unitarian Universalism in the United States. Personally, I think every UU SHOULD read this book before forming opinions about it, most have not, but still have opinions based only on heresay, which violates many UU principles, but the the fourth one in particular: A free and RESPONSIBLE search for truth and meaning. That's not a popular opinion, at least in my congregation, but it is what I think.

The events surrounding this book have b
robert hedlund
Aug 11, 2019 rated it liked it

RevT presents the case for reason and communication that many of us will endorse. The first essay, the only one I plan to read, is persuasive if not concise. His position reminds me greatly of Bill Maher except of course that Bill is an Islamophobe and Todd is only opposing the UUA patriarchy. If only our great thinkers could actually solve our problems.
Apr 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
Powerful questions asked of the Unitarian Universalist Association. Can we demand political correctness in a denomination whose history focuses on discussion, dissent, and the agreement that we do not need to think alike to love alike? I think all reasonable UUs should read this book.
Christopher Barghout
Feb 21, 2020 rated it really liked it
A worthwhile read

It's a an essay for UU people who've been taken in by simple liberal reflexive thinking. Makes some good points but has many axes to grind.

Steve Bottorff
Apr 14, 2021 rated it really liked it
Of interest to any Unitarian-Universalist. Are we becoming our own enemy?
Ward Hammond
Dec 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: kindle
Every UU should read this. In an age of identity politics, we must be informed and ready to address false charges of bigotry. I got bogged down in the white supremacy essay but I'm glad I finished. I simply had to find out how in the world UU could be classified in that way. Here is an organization that recognizes above all the value, even the divinity, of every individual. What a strange, crazy, mixed-up world we live in. It makes me want to scream, "Hey liberals! Don't eat your own!" ...more
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