The liberal way in religion
Reaching back to the roots of liberalism, the Rev. Peter Boullata describes “our essential witness to the world.”
Our spirit is a generous spirit, calling diverse people to be in relationship to one another. Our generous way of relation, holding in tension the free individual’s connection to others, holding in tension freedom and community, can be an example for a divided nation, a divided family, a tension-filled workplace. (Held in the Light, January 11)
The Rev. Cynthia Landrum provides background on the Girl Scout “cookie controversy” sparked by a scout’s protest against transgender inclusion.
Girl Scouts USA welcomes scouts to change the word “God” in the Girl Scout pledge to any word representing the scout’s spiritual beliefs. Girl Scouts also has not taken any stance limiting participation of lesbian or bisexual scouts or troop leaders. The latest Girl Scout controversy is around transgender scouts. And, once again, Girl Scouts has taken an inclusive stance. (Rev. Cyn, January 12)
Andy Coate urges us not to demonize the young scout at the center of the controversy.
I feel bad that it’s clearly going to be awhile before she has any actual chance to explore the world a little and meet people not in her religious, social, and political demographic. I feel bad that she’s probably getting a lot of hate directed at her right now from liberal folks and that that is just going to enforce the points she has been fed. (thoughts ON, January 12)
Resources for spiritual practice
If you’re like me, when you set out to reflect on the ways you’ve done wrong, you tend to think of the things you already know about. . . . So you reflect on those, and feel sorry for those, and maybe even tell people that you’re sorry, but what about the ways you’ve strayed that you haven’t even noticed? For those, what you need is a list of possible faults. (Sermons in Stones, January 8 and 10)
The Rev. Justin Schroeder has begun a series of daily posts about spiritual practice, including one about “why small groups matter.”
In Small Groups . . . congregants engage in the discipline of deep listening. . . . It’s the kind of listening that is not about fixing or advising another human being, or interrupting to tell a better story. It is the kind of deep, attentive listening that can help the soul show up, that can help the soul grow and speak its deepest truth. (The Well, January 7)
Our weird little ways
During her sabbatical, the Rev. Cynthia Cain has been learning compassion for what Buddhist teacher Pema Chodron calls our “weird little ways.”
[One] goal of a sabbatical is to create the space and the time to be truly uncomfortable, to face and move through the painful realities of your own weird little ways, to become more human. (A Jersey Girl in Kentucky, January 12)
The Rev. Dr. Marilyn Sewell considers three painful regrets—and the lesson she learned from them.
In each case, my heart was telling me what I needed to do. And in each case, I allowed other considerations to overrule my intuitive sense of what was right. I have learned over and over again in this world that the heart knows a deeper truth than reason can reach. (Rev. Dr. Marilyn Sewell, January 11)
Allison Rittger writes about the role her son’s dog, Leeloo, played in healing their relationship.
Sometimes a son and a mother get lucky and someone or something comes along to do what they were not able to do for each other, form the nurturing bond that allows a child to love for the rest of his life. For my oldest son, I was not a reliable, responsible parent, so he was never secure and grew older anxious to provide for others what I had not given him. But his own heart was closed. Then Leeloo came home, and the healing process began. (spirit flows thru, 1/9)
Lessons from family life
Sara from The Curriculum of Love applies Friedman’s leadership theory to teaching her children how to ride a bicycles.
It is normal to feel anxiety about letting them go. After all, eventually children will no longer need you, and will ride off without you, and each step along that path is a little letting go of this precious child. (The Curriculum of Love, January 6)
The Rev. Amy Freedman tells the story of a community in New Jersey that chose to foster a more balanced way of living.
In 2002, the entire town . . . declared a Family Night called “Ready, Set, Relax!” with no sports, no homework, no meetings, chores, or classes. Instead families enjoyed a meal together, played games or just relaxed. The idea was that having one night in which the whole town shared this experience would motivate people to find ways to slow down and reduce unnecessary pressures from families and children. (Amy Freedman, January 12)
Around the blogosphere
The Rev. James Ford reflects on Swami Vivekananda’s impact on the West in the late 1800’s.
He introduced America to the idea, startling at the time, that a non-Christian and a non-European could be both saintly and scholarly, and could advocate another religious perspective as compellingly as any Christian preacher. (Monkey Mind, January 9)
Linda Wright tells the story of her segregated educational experiences prior to the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act. (Equual Access, January 11)
Patrick Murfin remembers the birthday of President Millard Fillmore, providing a helpful biography of this little-known Unitarian. (Heretic, Rebel, a Thing to Flout, January 7)
“Liberal Religion Gets Loud” offers advice and resources for arranging hymns for guitar. (Liberal Religion Gets Loud, January 9)