Life as it is
While preparing for a Bridging ritual for high school seniors, Sara Lewis discovers that it is impossible to buy roses with thorns.
Fortunately I did find four decent blooms on a rosebush in my garden, so we used my roses for the ritual. . . . Life comes with many sides: blooms, thorns, sadness, compassion, messes, birth, death, love, loss, hope, despair. (The Curriculum of Love, June 11)
The Rev. Dr. Marilyn Sewell’s recent brush with mortality gives her the gift of perspective.
We look at others as they go about their daily living, judging and misjudging people, getting in a tiff over a parking ticket, complaining yet again about the weather. And we think, “Stop it! Don’t you understand? We don’t have time.”
So what do we have time for, my darlings? . . . We have time to be present and available, to be still and give ourselves to the moment. We have time to be fully alive in the days we have been given, for they are numbered. (Marilyn Sewell, June 11)
When she misses a connecting flight because the airline fails to provide a wheelchair, Theresa Ines experiences a sudden shift in her feelings about the situation.
I am responsible for the quality of my life. . . . I can set standards and work on being integrated and accommodated when it’s appropriate, but blame is the same as trying to soothe myself with anger instead of peace. (Inexplicable Beauty, June 11)
The Rev. Stefanie Etzbach-Dale asks, “To whom does one pray if one doesn’t believe in God?”
Well, if the expectation of God’s ear is removed from prayer, what we are left with is: an articulation of our reality. . . . Sometimes it is precisely in putting words to our reality that we gain insights into it, developing new perspectives (including much-needed hope). (Rev. Stefanie’s Blog, June 12)
So I can tell you, when I was a boy, things were simpler. Atheists didn’t have something they called “spirituality” . . . . We eschewed—and sometimes outright scorned—words such as spiritual, sacred, divine, transcendent. We weren’t so keen on awe, mystery, or wonder either. Those were the days!
Spiritual atheists. Well, I have learned to accept that there are plastic glasses, tight slacks, and jumbo shrimp. Why not spiritual atheists? Times change, words change. The language itself evolves, and so, apparently, do atheists. (Lake Chalice, June 13 and 14)
Pride, prayer, and action
The Rev. Peter Boullata examines Pride celebrations’ many layers of history.
Celebrating Pride Day, we evoke our powers of becoming who we are, our potential to be all that we are meant to be, by drawing on the theatrical, shamanistic threads in western European lesbian, gay and transgender subcultures. It has the possibility of simultaneously being political theatre, protest and ritual. (Held in the Light, June 10)
When a fellow seminarian’s class presentation turns into a contentious discussion of same-sex relationships, Crystal St. Marie Lewis objects to her professor’s peace-restoring prayer.
I wondered if a day would ever come when we’d stop praying and do something . . . when we’d get real about the limitations of the Bible . . . when love would overcome fear . . . Thinking about all of it made me angry. I walked home and fought back my tears. I also fought the urge to pray. (Crystal St. Marie Lewis, June 12)
UU identity and vitality
The Rev. Phil Lund has been mulling over an idea: one’s denominational affiliation is about as important to one’s faith as one’s alma mater is to one’s vocation.
When a person of faith identifies first and foremost with their particular religious tradition, it’s like an college graduate identifying himself or herself primarily as an alumnus/a of their alma mater. While that may be an interesting fact (“Oh, you’re a Unitarian. Aren’t you the ones Garrison Keillor is always joking about?”), it really doesn’t tell anyone a whole lot about who you are as a person of faith, just as having an MBA from Harvard Business School doesn’t say a whole lot about how well you run a business (or a country, for that matter). (Phil’s Little Blog on the Prairie, June 8)
The Rev. Tom Schade asks, “What explains the fact that Unitarian Universalism has not suffered the dramatic loss of membership of the mainline Protestants?”
My theory, and I don’t think it can be proven or disproven with the data that we have, is that Unitarian Universalism was revitalized in the 1990′s and 2000′s by the influx of gays, lesbians, bisexuals, transgender people, and queers. Not just numerically, but also culturally and theologically. And this influx followed closely after the dramatic rise in the number of female ministers. (the lively tradition, June 13)
Around the blogosphere
“A Curious UU” finds compassion for a “saved” family member who preaches damnation.
I walked away feeling some deep compassion for this Christian who lives in a narrow world that does not include much of the rest of her family.
I wonder if it feels like saving yourself during a tsunami while watching the rest of your family drown? Will she find peace in the end that she did everything she could to try to save us, or will she know in her heart that she could have done more? What a terrible burden and reckoning. (A Curious UU, June 8)
The Rev. Jeff Liebman reports on his testimony before the State House Health Policy Committee in Lansing, Michigan—and his participation in a joyful, noisy protest against government regulation of reproductive choices.
I remain mystified by the so-called “pro-life” position. Listening to their rhetoric, the only logical conclusion is that their first and foremost objective is not the preservation of life, but the control and regulation of women’s reproductive organs and their lives as sexual beings. (uujeff’s muse kennel and pizzatorium, June 9 and 12)
“Leaping Loon” admits being nervous about suggesting the word “pilgrimage” for the youth’s trip to General Assembly in Phoenix.
I braced myself for resistance, argument, even scorn. And then I was caught off-guard when my suggestion of promoting the “Pilgrimage to Phoenix” was met with ready approval. Perhaps you can imagine my bewilderment some weeks later when I mentioned our “trip” to Phoenix, and a congregant gently corrected me, asking if I was aware that the youth were calling it a pilgrimage! (Leaping Loon, June 12)