Military deployment, Easter, liberal religion, and more

UUs living with military deployment

Bridget Rainey, whose husband Dallas is stationed in Afghanistan, lets us know “how deployment feels.”

We had our first casualty this week. . . . I did not know this Soldier. He was part of another Battalion within our Brigade. . . . When I heard we had a casualty I cried. I went to my room, closed the door, and sobbed for a long time. I cried for him and for his family, for his fellow Soldiers, and for the others injured in the incident. But mostly, I cried for me. Because my husband is over there too and all of a sudden the possibility that it could have been him became all too real. (Twinisms, April 6)

Experiencing Easter

In a series of posts, the Rev. Meredith Garmon explores differences in the four stories of Easter—and what they mean for us.

The resurrection is about you. Mark, Matthew, Luke, and John give four different stories: four metaphors for what each of us encounters. In these metaphors, Mary Magdalene is you. Jesus is also you. Jesus is the part of you that you thought was dead. You mourn its loss. But these stories are here to tell you: it’s not dead.

It’s not dead.

Easter is the time for soul-searching. Go, as Mary, and look. Look to find your self. (Lake Chalice, April 11)

“Fausto” considers the parallels between Passover and Easter, which happen to coincide this year.

The parallels between Passover and Easter are far deeper than the mere fact that the Last Supper happened to be a seder meal. They also share a common theme of deliverance and liberation: deliverance from worldly bondage to the Pharaoh in Egypt, deliverance from spiritual bondage to sin and death at Calvary; liberation first for the nation of Jacob at the Red Sea, liberation next for all the other nations at the empty tomb. . . . Indeed, in all languages except English and German, the Christian festival of the Resurrection is known by some variant of the Greek word Pascha, which in turn is a translation of the Hebrew Pesach, or Passover. (the Socinian, April 8)

For Christine Slocum, a potluck with friends was the best way to celebrate an agnostic’s Easter.

Will and I skipped church and hosted a potluck for Easter in our new home. Most of those who came were friends from church; most had also skipped today’s service. Reasons cited: busy, Easter service is awkward, too bad we don’t do the flower communion then, and trying to avoid “Easter Only” Unitarians. (Seattleite from Syracuse, April 9)

Crystal St. Marie Lewis encounters the sacred when she leaves Easter services to answer a cell phone call from her mother.

As I descended into the subway, I realized that I’d experienced a momentary encounter with the Divine. I had heard the still, small voice of God in the wind and it sounded like everything around me. It sounded like my mother, and it sounded like wind rustling in the trees and the laughter of a child. Truly, everything was new in that moment… I took a deep breath and said inside my heart without wavering: God lives. (Diary of a Christian Universagnosticostal, April 8)

John Beckett provides a Pagan perspective on Easter.

Jesus didn’t die for your sins or for anyone else’s sins—the doctrine of substitutionary atonement is a relic of a hierarchical, barbaric worldview that persists in our time in honor killings. Nor is Easter a triumph of life over death. Death is not the enemy—it’s a part of life. Birth is the gateway from the Otherworld into this world and death is the gateway from this world back into the Otherworld. (Under the Ancient Oaks, April 6)

Making sense of liberal religion

The Rev. Robin Tanner doesn’t believe in intercessory prayer—but does it anyway.

I used to feel embarrassed in my rational religion to be caught . . . praying to anyone as an intercession let alone a saint! But . . . I’ve come to learn the world is a lot more complicated than I can ever understand. I’ve learned that the earliest things we experience about religion and spirituality can create grooves of sort in our minds and even bodies. (Piedmont Preacher, April 11)

A “cool kid” in a pub asked the Rev. Dr. Victoria Weinstein, “Why should I go to church? Are they offering lap dances and handing out free $50 bills?”

I have thought for some time that the way to witness to people like that is to match them sarcastic comment for sarcastic comment, let them poke fun at me and the Church (and God), and stay around being cool with them. . . . But now I think that there must be some middle way between sheer mutual goofing around (after all, would I so casually tolerate that level of disrespectful teasing about any other important aspect of my identity?) and over-earnest evangelizing. However I do it, I want to keep it light, friendly and inviting, but I also want it to be real and courageous. (PeaceBang, April 11)

The Rev. Tom Schade responds to Andrew Sullivan’s “Christianity in Crisis.”

Sullivan is a Catholic, and so he seems to see his only choice as the hierarchy or the mendicant monk. He doesn’t quite get Protestantism as a viable reform movement in Christianity, especially the fruits of the Radical Reformation, which persist today in the radically inclusive sects like Quakerism and the Unitarian Universalism I serve, and which influenced Jefferson.

Sullivan starts with Jefferson’s Bible, but does not follow that historical thread. Jefferson had contemporaries and together they all have heirs, in that many others have pursued the project of an institutionalized “pure Christianity.” (the lively tradition, April 10)

Around the blogosphere

David G. Markham asks, “What is the popularity of The Hunger Games telling us about ourselves?”

The Hunger Games is not some dystopian fictionalized account of the future, it is being enacted daily in our lives, and our children know this and consume the “fiction” which mirrors their daily truth. It takes a novel and movie to tell them the truth that they are mere objects in political games that their parents and grandparents play for their own benefit and amusement. (UU A Way of Life, April 7)

Sara from The Curriculum of Love reviews Tending the Flame: The Art of Unitarian Universalist Parenting, a new book by Michelle Richards, author of the UU Parenting Blog at UU World. (The Curriculum of Love, April 12)

The Rev. Bill Sinkford is inspired by 108-year-old Alice Herz Sommer, a survivor of the Nazi concentration camps and the cancer she was diagnosed with twenty-five years ago.

[She] talks about what has sustained her through so much adversity. Gratitude for “a smile, a kind word, the sun” is her first response. She has learned that “hatred eats the soul of the hater, not the hated.” But it was another of her responses that lifted my spirit: “I know about the bad, but I look where it is good.” (Rev. Sinkford’s Blog, April 12)