UUs talk about UU culture, Arizona, and the oil spill

The question of UU culture

The Rev. Dr. Cynthia Landrum talks about the articles in the last issue of UUWorld dealing with UU culture. After remarking on some of the complexities of expanding diversity within the UU community, she concludes:

We need to make sure we examine and broaden our UU culture without making people who fit this dominant culture ashamed of who they are or felt like they’re being told they’re either irrelevant, unwelcome, or, at best, highly problematic in their being. (“Rev. Cyn,” May 26)

UUs continue to discuss Arizona

The Rev. James Ford is preparing for the spread of Arizona’s immigration laws to his home state of Rhode Island. He urges opponents if Arizona-type legislation to make their voices heard: “What is important is for those who find this legislation both not on point to the issue of immigration reform and cruel on the face of it to let their legislators know.” (“Monkey Mind,” May 22)

And the Rev. Christine Robinson cautions us to examine the language we use while discussing the Arizona law:

To call someone hateful is a very strong accusation. Do it too much and you lose a word which you need when someone has been lynched, when a wayward policemen has spit into anybody’s face, when emotions are way out of control and doing terrible, memorable damage for the sheer hell of it. Throw around that word ‘hate’ too much and those you accuse start writing you off as inarticulate and without a real case. (“iMinister, May 22)

UUs discuss the oil spill as an opportunity for social justice and volunteerism

Deb Weiner at “Morning Stars Rising” worries about the impact of the spill on the poor communities in the Gulf and the larger implications of “environmental racism”:

But the lack of backup plans, and the inability of any entity to bring the problem under control, is chilling. And the damage, while spreading more widely every day, has been impacting historically disenfranchised communities in far greater numbers than those who are part of established majority control groups. (“Morning Stars Rising,” May 21)

And the Rev. Sam Trumbore and his congregation have found a unique way to help out in the Gulf: donating hair to soak up the spilled oil!

Human and animal hair have the capacity to soak up lots of oil. When stuffed into old nylons or pantyhose, it can be shipped to gulf and used to sop up some of that oil. Then the oil soaked hair can be seeded with mushroom spore that convert the oil into non-toxic chemicals. Pretty amazing! (timesunion.com, May 21)

Around the blogosphere

UUMomma muses on the delicate situation of friends helping friends through the death of a loved one: “And so this is the lesson I’ve learned: to be present and mostly silent and to hold my experiences until the time they are useful. Except, of course, when I mess up and use their stories to help me process my own. And then I have to relearn my own lessons, again. And again.” (“UUMomma,” May 23)

The Rev. Brian Kiely recounts the experience of helping people around the world through KIVA (“a group that arranges micro-loans all around the world”) as an expression of Unitarian Universalist values:

Have you ever wanted to do something about poverty in faraway parts of the world? Have you ever wanted to help someone directly? … And have you ever wanted toi [sic] do it with a Unitarian connection? … It’s easy, it’s fun, and most importantly it’s a way to directly change a life of some specific individual who really needs your help. (“UU Without Borders,” May 23)

And Jason Pitzl-Waters discusses the growing relevance of religion blogs and questions their impartiality:

It’s no secret for those who’ve been paying attention that media outlets (ie newspapers) are cutting back on their coverage of religion. This was confirmed by a Pew Forum study that analyzed news coverage of religion and found that new media (blogs, websites, podcasts, etc) were taking up the slack, and becoming the primary outlet for religion news, debate, and discussion … This is an encouraging trend, the more religion coverage, the better, in my mind. What is in question is how diverse will their coverage be? In other words, will they cover minority religions and modern Paganism beyond mere tokenism? (“The Wild Hunt,” May 24)