Monday, September 28, 2009

Beacon Street Girls

Have you ever heard of the Beacon Street Girls?

In turns out this is a series of novels for middle-school-aged girls -- or at least, about middle-school-aged girls. (I find that in children's literature the audience is often younger than the characters, so that books about high-schoolers are read by middle-schoolers, and those about middle-schoolers are read by elementary-aged kids. But I digress.)

I've come across the series in a paper I'm editing for a client. Where there's a Beacon Street, I thought, there just might be some Unitarian Universalists, so I Googled the series title (in quotation marks) and the word "Unitarian" to see if anyone was making a direct link between the two.

Got a lot of hits, but nothing that really paid off. The closest was in the form of fan discussions on the publisher's web site, where there were lively discussions among self-identified Christians and UUs on topics such as favorite Bible verses.

But I have to say the upbeat, wholesome, diverse and socially conscious BSG characters do strike me as reflective of a kind of UU-earnest identity.

Of course, I'm not saying these are exclusively UU attitudes, or that these characters are either explicitly or even necessarily UU. (Yes, fans, I'm aware that at least one character is Jewish.) Yet I do find hints here of how the wider secular culture, in at least some superficial ways, mirrors certain UU outlooks and values. (The most recent exhibit: Army Wives' two-episode arc about a couple's decision to have their infant dedicated at a UU church before mom deploys to Iraq.)

This poll from mid-2008 tells that story in a different way. As I said to a fellow UU not long ago, perhaps we'll never grow that much as a religious movement, but are we "winning" the larger cultural debate more than we realize?

1 comment:

  1. Beacon Street in Boston is crawling with UUs. However, the Beacon Street Girls are from Brookline. That being the case, there is no particular reason to supect they are UU, because if they were, they would be called Walnut Street girls. (On the other hand, it should come as no surprise to locals that at least one of them is Jewish. (There might even be an Episcopalian or two.)


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