Marriage equality, immigration, patriotism and more UU blogging

Marriage equality

After long months of hard work opposing North Carolina’s “marriage amendment,” the Rev. Robin Tanner asks, “Are we defeated?”

The better question, friends, is: Are we ready? Tomorrow morning, we will rise and wake to a new day. . . . The faith and devotion of those who have gone before us beg us to step forward. From Stonewall to today, they urge us onward and ask a single question: Are we ready? (Piedmont Preacher, May 9)

Kathleen McGregor feels battered by everything that happened this week in the fight over marriage equality.

The congratulations, and requests that we thank Obama for “evolving” on this “issue” do not feel right on a day after 61% of North Carolina voters enshrined bigotry in their constitution for the second time. . . . I think that I am supposed to be happy that Democrats will start coming out in favor of marriage equality. Well, pardon me if it feels like too little, too late. (Both/And, May 9)

For Andy Coate, it’s important to celebrate victories along the way, even though equality has not yet been won and other injustices also call for action.

This is an issue I’ve been passionately fighting for for years. Marriage equality DOES still matter; we cannot wait for everything to be perfectly aligned, for all other injustices to be healed before we celebrate any wins. I’m happy that Obama came out in favor of marriage equality. I’m going to celebrate that. (thoughts ON, May 9)

The Rev. Bill Sinkford acknowledges the complexity of our reactions to this week’s news stories about marriage equality.

Our task is to live buoyed by the hope that developments like Obama’s statement provide while, at the same time, knowing that there will be setbacks like the North Carolina decision.

So we celebrate, we mourn and we commit ourselves to the on-going work of creation. It is no simple task, but it is what we are called to do. (Rev. Sinkford’s Blog, May 10)

My Country, ‘Tis of Thee

The Rev. Sam Trumbore provides a thoughtful examination of the Doctrine of Discovery, which will be a focus of discussion at this year’s General Assembly.

Given the large indigenous population in Arizona, and the historical connection with the indigenous population in Mexico, the focus for us to pay attention to the Doctrine of Discovery makes a lot more sense. The Doctrine of Discovery connects with the setting of national borders between the United States and Mexico that bisected the lands of some Native peoples. Remember the Southwest came into U.S. possession through war with Mexico. Our partners like to say, “We didn’t cross the border, the border crossed us.” (Rev. Sam Trumbore, May 8)

When Representative Michelle Bachmann’s dual citizenship leads to charges of “civic bigamy,” the Rev. Amy Zucker Morgenstern begins to consider what “allegiance” to one’s country means.

“Allegiance” is just not a word I apply to my relationship with my country, certainly not undivided allegiance. That allegiance . . . is shared with the commitment I make to all living things; to humanity as a whole; to the truth, as best as I can perceive it; and to the aims of liberty and justice for all, which is the only phrase in the Pledge of Allegiance that ever moved me. (Sermons in Stones, May 10)

The Rev. David Pyle has just finished reading a near-future science fiction novel, in which the United States has become nearly irrelevant—while still holding on to the idea of American Exceptionalism.

Whenever I think of American Exceptionalism, I think of the speech given by Ronald Reagan where he talked about the “City on the Hill”, paraphrasing the Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount (though second-hand, through John Winthrop). Perhaps it is time we realize that Reagan got the scripture wrong. . . . The metaphor of the City on the Hill was not about that city being exceptional in its own right. It was about the need for the city that all can see to behave in a way that inspires all of humankind. What would make such a city exceptional was not what it was, or who founded it, or whatever ideals they might have. It was how they behaved. (Celestial Lands, May 10)

Facing an uncertain future

The Rev. David Owen-O’Quill reviews the recent book by Diana Butler Bass, Christianity After Religion: The End of Church and the Birth of a New Spiritual Awakening.

This “fourth great awakening” is transforming the way we understand faith, the church, and ourselves. It effects not only the overtly spiritual matters but the realms of ethics, community, politics, and culture. The question for the church is not if things are going to change but how is that change going to come about. How will the traditional institutions respond. Will they support leadership adapting to the new cultural realities, will they ignore such efforts, or will they sabotage them. . . . Its an open-ended question. (News from the Spiritual Underground, May 9)

Tom Wilson finds hope for the future of Unitarian Universalism, not in transformational experiences, but in steady, incremental improvements.

[R]adical transformation is a buzzword in some UU circles. But is this a piece of Christian baggage that we would be well rid of? Radical change sometimes happens. But like winning the lottery, it is of note exactly because it is so rare. . . . [We] are better served by attentive practice and incremental change. It’s not as sexy as winning the transformation lottery, but many small enlightenments may take us where we want to go. And if they don’t––at least we’ll be enlightened. (Musings and Essays, May 5)

John Beckett offers advice for living in a world that seems to be on the brink of catastrophe.

Start small, practice, work on yourself, practice, help someone else, practice, set a good example, and practice some more. You’ll persuade far more people to live responsibly by happily living responsibly yourself than by angrily demanding changes that people aren’t ready to make. (Under the Ancient Oaks, May 8)

Around the blogosphere

After reading a list of “Seven Things to Avoid when Talking to Strangers about Humanism,” the Rev. Dan Harper translates the list for Unitarian Universalists who want to talk about their faith.

“Don’t talk about God.” It turns out that most people aren’t that interested in having theological discussions about whether or not God exists, and if God does exist what is the nature of God . . . . When someone asks me about my Unitarian Universalist congregation, I tell them about the amazing Sunday services, the great people who are part of the congregation, the fun that the kids have in Sunday school, the social justice work that we do; there’s never time to even get to God. (Yet Another Unitarian Universalist, May 7)

Doug Muder shares the text of his presentation, “A Humanist Approach to Death.”

A few weeks ago I found myself at a funeral where no doctrine of the afterlife was preached. . . . Instead of speculating about where she is now, the service celebrated the life that she had led, the kind of person she was, and the effect she had on those who knew her. I came away from that funeral with two impressions: First, that this woman had really lived. And second, that living a human life is a pretty cool thing to be able to do. In short, that funeral was an inspiring, upbeat event. (Free and Responsible Search, May 6)