For Paul Oakley, civilian repentance is a key component of Memorial Day observance.
Memorial Day, to be meaningful, demands civilian repentance for failed diplomacy and wrong policies of the past and a commitment to building a different kind of national strength. It demands that we support our troops and care for our veterans. It demands that we get out of the business of empire, that we stop extracting the wealth of the world for our benefit, that we stop imposing our will on the planet.
Honor the dead by making a commitment to meaningful ethical change. (Inner Light, Radiant Life, May 28)
The Rev. Meredith Garmon, a self-described “peacenik,” acknowledges the gifts that warriors give us.
Thank you, fighters. You entered situations more fearful than anything permanent civilians like me can imagine, yet you did not let your fear control you. You showed us what courage is, that we could bring courage to our peaceful pursuits.
The phrase “warrior mind” refers to a state of being concentrated yet relaxed, smoothly sizing up a situation and deploying strategies to overcome obstacles and challenges. Every time we confront difficulties rather than fleeing from them, we are drawing on the skills of our warrior ancestors—skills which today’s warriors continue to embody. Thank you, warriors. (Lake Chalice, May 25)
Military spouse Bridget Rainey shares her family’s experience as part of the tiny percentage of Americans who have served in the Armed Forces.
[We] are carrying a huge burden for the rest of you. Less than one percent of families have to send their Daddies, husbands, sons, daughters, Mommies, and wives off to war. Less than one percent have to sit at home wondering why they haven’t heard from their loved one in three days, hoping they get a call or an email from them instead of a knock at the door. Less than one percent worry that the person who returns home from war won’t be the same person who left. Worried that he’ll be broken either in body or spirit to the point of no return. Less than one percent have to hear their children weep at night because they’re so lonely for the sound of their Daddies voice that they think if they cry loud enough he might hear them and come home. (Twinisms, May 29)
The spiritual lives of children
Kari Kopnick tells her last Story for All Ages at the “Noisy Church.”
This is a pretty lovely place to grow up, this lovely little church on the hill; where being noisy is celebrated, and making a useful noise is just exactly what the adults here want you to do!
So one more time, lets make a lovely noise: clap and stomp and whoop and laugh and let out the lovely, bright you inside! Be noisy! (Chalice Spark, May 27)
Adrian Hilliard responds to a viral video that shows a young child singing “Ain’t No Homos Gonna Make It to Heaven.”
Of course, it’s a privilege of parenting to determine the sort of spiritual foundation one’s children will have, and I support families raising children with particular religious beliefs. What I don’t support are beliefs based in fear, hatred, and ignorance, and the scarring abuse of conditioning a child to despise other human beings because of an essential quality of their existence.
It is my prayer that this child grow up in love, rather than in hate. (UUXNMR, May 30)
Plaidshoes would like to set up a low-key, daily spiritual practice with her children this summer.
Since life is slowing down, I would like to institute a low-key daily spiritual practice with the kids. I have actually been wanting to do this for a long time, but things were so crazy busy, I couldn’t find the time to figure it all out. Which, in and of itself, is a strong indicator that this is something very needed. Problem is, I am at a loss for what to do. (Everyday Unitarian, May 29)
The Rev. Adam Tierney-Eliot reports on church members of all ages working together to create a church garden.
Our garden tells folks that we are less worried about looking perfect and quaint in our little “New England Meeting House” than we are about living out the faith preached in that house on Sunday mornings. Spirituality is not an ornament. It is lived and experienced in a real place with real joys and real problems. (Burbania Posts, May 29)
Liz James offers practical advice for “effective Geek/Luddite intercommunication.”
The Geek shall never touch the keyboard or mouse while teaching the Luddite how to do something. The currents of computer learning run through the hands, not the eyes. Learning to use technology by observation results in as much expertise as learning to fly a plane by observation. There will be similar consequences. (Sacred Lego, May 29)
Messy, missional ministry
Joel Monka shares an unvarnished account of leaving church.
No, I’m not going into details because it’s too late in the day to start gobbling antacids. But I will talk about a mindset, an attitude expressed in both splits. It can be summed up in a single line of argument, and I give fair warning: the next person to use this argument to me risks being spit upon.
I call it “Waving The Chalice”. . . “This isn’t about you or me—think of the church! The church is bigger than any individual; it will still be there long after we’re gone.” (CUUMBAYA, May 28)
I’ve often joked that as an aspiring writer, I would have done well to pick a faith with more adherents if I planned to write about religion. But here I am, and I plan to stay with the loose, gossamer confines of the Unitarian Universalist Association. Like many here, I find comfort in elusive, evolving nature of this faith tradition. I remain concerned about our future and uncertain what I or anyone else can do to present Unitarian Universalism to the wider world in a way that makes it appealing for more than a quick stop on a road up the mountain. I don’t have answers. Fortunately, that fits my faith tradition perfectly. (Finding My Way, May 30)
The Rev. David Owen-O’Quill gives defining “missional” his best shot.
I think the simplest way to understand what missional means is to think of it as one end of a spectrum of how the church orients itself in the world. On one end of the spectrum would be the church as a sanctuary where the church is a refuge from the world. In a sanctuary style church the purpose of the church is focused on the members who are already there. . . . When the word mission or missional is used you can imagine the other end of the spectrum, where the church is oriented around its connection with the world. . . . This can also take on very different forms, but the main thing is that the focus is shifted from who is inside the walls to who is outside. (News from the Underground, May 25)
Around the blogosphere
The Rev. Katie Norris provides an insider’s perspective on mental illness.
It must be eternally frustrating for people without mental illness to see those of us with it doing things that are bad for us.. . . . When we do things that are detrimental, from eating bad food, to spending our savings, even to suicide, we do them because we really think we need to. We think it is the only way to end the extreme pain and suffering we feel. (Bipolar Spirit, May 28)
Christine Slocum wonders how the word “Salaam” came to be sliced out of a UU advertisement on the King County Metro Bus.
How would someone do that? Did they balance on the seat, slicing wildly as the bus bounced down the roads? Was there no one else in the bus? Did everyone sit there, perplexed but quiet, passively saying nothing? Buses are strange mixes of intimate and impersonal space. We know each other not, but there we are, for twenty minutes. A group of strangers with at least one thread of affinity, sitting and watching on? (Seattleite from Syracuse, May 25)