Observing Lent, conservative UUs, and more

Unitarian Universalists observing Lent

Angie Andriot suggests that Unitarian Universalsts could learn from the words of the Ash Wednesday liturgy, “Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”

It’s more than just a reminder of the transience of our lives—it’s a reminder of how we are all connected, to each other and to the universe and the cycle of life. If we return to dust, and we are all made of dust, then what are we but a compilation [of] those who came before us? We are all made of the same stardust. . . . It’s humbling, yet glorifying at the same time. (A Unitarian Universalist Blogs the Bible, February 22)

For the Rev. Adam Tierney-Eliot, the Lenten season is “a time for beginning and for beginners.”

This is a time of year when we have the opportunity to re-orient ourselves. We have the chance to better understand our place in the order of things. . . . We are all beginners all the time. We can try to hide that fact or we can embrace it in all its fullness and mystery. (Burbania Posts, February 22)

This will be Matt Kinsi’s fourth year partaking in Lent.

I started celebrating Lent when I was in one of the darkest times of my life and needed to prove to myself I had some kind of inner strength, because at the time I felt completely weak. . . . There’s something about [Lent] that calls to me. A period of time to prove to myself that my spiritual willpower is stronger than my bodily urges. That there’s something in me beyond my body that can say “No. Despite you craving this, no. I am stronger than that.” (Spirituality and Sunflowers, February 21)

The Rev. Peter Boullatta will follow a modified vegan diet for Lent (Held in the Light, February 22), Christine Leigh Slocum plans to abstain from alcohol (Seattleite from Syracuse, February 22), and Kim Hampton is giving up Unitarian Universalism for forty days (East of Midnight, February 22).

Can Unitarian Universalists be Republicans?

The Rev. Fred Hammond makes a case that it is impossible to be a Unitarian Universalist and a member of the Republican party.

The Republican Party has expressed an agenda that is anti-woman, anti-worker, anti- immigrant, anti-religious freedom, anti-elderly, and racist. I do not understand how any Unitarian Universalist, who is seeking to honor the principles of inherent worth and dignity of every person; Justice, equity, and compassion in human relations; and the right of conscience and the use of the democratic process can in good conscience continue to support a party that is actively working to devolve American society back to a repressive and oppressive era, more reminiscent of 1812 rather than 2012. (A Unitarian Universalist Minister in the South, February 18)

“Transient and Permanent” reminds us of historic Unitarian and Universalist support of the Republican party.

[It] is worth noting that historically Unitarians have been major supporters of the Republican Party, and that it was Universalist Israel Washburn Jr. who co-founded (and named) the Republican Party. One finds Unitarians and Universalists among the founders of state Republican Parties as well. (Transient and Permanent, February 19)

Bill Baar notes a play that will be performed at General Assembly, “The Unheard Voices of Unitarian Universalist Conservatives.” (Pfarrer Streccius, February 11)

Theology matters—even for non-theists

“Strange Attractor” writes that our culture’s images of the divine are important, even for non-theists.

Since I don’t believe in a god, you might wonder why I care how we envision him/her/it/them. But I do care. Non-theists are a small minority in America, and we are affected by the policies enacted by and attitudes prevalent among the majority of Americans who are theists. So it is important to me that, culturally, we do not limit our vision of the divine to white maleness. Our perception of what is good and worthy should not automatically make half of the population “other”. When we picture the divine we shape what we think is of value, and we all need to be able to participate in being valuable and seeing others as so. (Strange Attractor, February 23)

As part of her series of Black History Month posts, the Rev. Amy Zucker Morgenstern writes about the lessons of Black humanism.

[Perhaps the] most obvious lesson of black humanism is: There are a lot of black humanists out there. Why aren’t more of them finding a home within Unitarian Universalism? (Sermons in Stones, February 23)

Around the blogosphere

Carolyn Cartland shares her perspective on “Living on the Side of Love.”

After the Standing on the Side of Love campaign was introduced at General Assembly in 2009, some of us in Equual Access and the disability community within the UUA were disappointed with the name chosen. Language matters, words matter, and those of us who cannot stand felt those words discounted our experience and reinforced the notion that there is something inherently “normal,” “natural,” and “strongly positive” about the notion of “standing” . . . which, of course, there is not. (Equual Access, February 21)

The Rev. David Pyle wonders, “What would a UU religious order look like?”

What I am dreaming of is this . . . a Unitarian Universalist Religious Order, dedicated to deepening individual spirituality and spiritual practice within Unitarian Universalism. The Order would develop some shared rituals and spiritual practices. The Order would make some shared commitments, to ourselves, to each other, to the broader movement of Unitarian Universalism, and to the world. (Celestial Lands, February 17)

The Rev. Ellen Cooper-Davis writes an open letter to “any young woman who imagines herself Katniss,” referring to the character from The Hunger Games.

Are we willing to be awakened, to push back, to reclaim our deepest humanity? Are you willing to take your soul back, shake off its numbness, and live fully alive? You are right to see yourself in Katniss. It is the hunger of your own soul for its awakening. May the odds be ever in your favor. (Keep the Faith, February 21)

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