UUs respond to Trayvon Martin’s death
The Rev. Naomi King offers a prayer of grief and compassion.
[We] are called to live boldly in compassion, to love our neighbors as ourselves, to not fear but to welcome the stranger. Yet we have failed and are struggling again, losing another child to violence and fear, losing ground living with love. For love flourishes in the safety of accountability, in the safety of each of us bearing responsibility, in the safety of mercy and restraint. Out of grief we raise our hearts and our voices, out of grief for our children, our friends, our loved ones, our neighbors. Out of grief for Trayvon Martin we raise our hearts and our voices. (City of Refuge, March 23)
Several UU congregations observed “Wear Your Hoodie to Church Day,” demanding justice for Trayvon Martin, and protesting the racism that endangers young black men.
Issuing an invitation to wear “hoodies,” the Rev. Amy Zucker Morgenstern of the UU Church of Palo Alto asks, “When will young black men be free to walk in safety?”
Everyone is invited to wear a hooded sweatshirt, and we’ll put our group photo out there to show the world that our hearts are broken by the death of Trayvon Martin, that we are watching, that we want the same justice for his family as we would want for our own, and that we will not rest until black Americans are as free as white Americans. (Sermons in Stones, March 23)
The Rev. Christine Robinson reports that one third of the congregation at First Unitarian in Albuquerque wore hooded sweatshirts to Sunday services, and gives some background on this form of protest.
Who knew that hoodies had such massive symbolic weight? This item of clothing has been in the news since the killing of Trayvon Martin and the comment by Geraldo that the hoodie was just as much to blame for his death as the gun. (Guns don’t kill people. People kill people, especially people who are so foolish as to wear a hoodie.) Talk about blaming the victim! (iMinister, March 26)
The Rev. Dr. Cynthia Landrum asks, “Who do we mourn?”
The fact that we are, really, conditioned through our media and our culture to be more sympathetically inclined towards dead white children and to find their deaths sadder and more outrageously wrong makes it even more clear how very, very wrong Trayvon’s death was. (Rev. Cyn, March 28)
Doug Muder examines the racism whites don’t want to see.
[Why] did the police find [Zimmerman's] story credible and his actions excusable? You’re an armed white adult chasing an unarmed black teen-ager you outweigh by about 100 pounds. Naturally, you would feel threatened. That’s the kind of racism that is still endemic in every nook and cranny of America. . . . Being black is no longer three strikes against you, but it’s still one or two. By and large, White America doesn’t want to believe that. (The Weekly Sift, March 26)
Exploring religious community
After a yearlong hiatus from Unitarian Universalism, Hafidha Sofia shares the reasons she stepped back from active attendance.
I wanted to focus on my family and settling into our home and new town. I have a history of saying “Yes” to people’s requests and overextending myself. I issued a one-year moratorium on making volunteer commitments, and avoiding church altogether made it much easier to keep that promise.
I liked my old church. A lot. It was the only church I’ve ever been a member of, and it was emotional to leave it behind. I didn’t feel ready to jump into a new church yet.
Did I even want to go to church anymore? (Never Say Never to Your Traveling Self, March 26)
The Rev. Krista Taves continues her series about “sabbatical church hopping.” After her visit to the Metropolitan Community Church in St. Louis, where the minister’s sermon was about sexuality and spirituality:
I was moved to my core to see the minister of the most prominent gay Christian church in St. Louis legitimize BDSM and polyamorous relationships structures [as] having intrinsic sacred worth and value, and in fact having something to teach the rest of us about how to be living manifestations of that drop of God. (and the stones shall cry, March 25)
Earlier that morning, Taves visited an evangelical megachurch, where she was startled by the Universalism of the preacher’s message.
I really couldn’t believe what I was hearing. His sermon was about pure love. Unconditional unfailing love and he was saying it is all around us. That even when we do the worst things we can imagine, God is seeking our cell phone signal and in fact, he’s already found us. Are we going to let ourselves be healed with that undying love? (and the stones shall cry, March 23)
Around the blogosphere
Deb Weiner is grateful for Romneycare.
My friends, who share my political bent, sometimes look at me in amazement when I openly express my gratitude to Romney for having signed this health care program into law. But I’m serious: my family would be uninsured, and in even rockier financial shape than we are now, without it. So as the Court hears the arguments this week on the pieces of legislation the President fought hard to enact—so that many of you out there might be covered under similar kinds of insurance if you found yourselves without private health care—think about me for a minute. (Morning Stars Rising, March 28)
The Rev. Qiyamah A.Rahman shares some of her experiences at this year’s Annual Retreat of Unitarian Universalist Religious Professionals of Color and Latina/os. (Ruminations of the Soul, March 28)
The Rev. Dan Harper responds to a column in The New York Times Magazine which argues that while it was easy to find ethical arguments against eating meat, it was difficult to find ethical arguments in favor of eating meat. (Yet Another Unitarian Universalist, March 26)
The Rev. Dr. Terasa Cooley contrasts the Baby Boomer’s individualistic efforts to change the world with the “assumed covenant” expressed in the Millenial’s emphasis on working together. (Learn Out Loud, March 23)
The Rev. Amy Zucker Morgenstern notes the death of poet Adrienne Rich, and comments on the impact of Rich’s poetry on her understanding of ministry. (Sermons in Stones, March 28)