‘Don’t shoot people’
At first, “don’t shoot people” is the only response the Rev. Kathy Schmitz can form to this week’s shooting at the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin.
As we speak out against this latest tragedy, may we remember not only what we are against (Don’t shoot people.) but also what we are for. May we uphold the values of respect and understanding so that our differences can be our strength. Let us commit ourselves to true and deep relationship with people of varied perspectives so that our lives and our world may be enriched. May we honor that age old lesson, so simple and yet so challenging… Love one another. (Growing in Place, August 9)
Kim Hampton asks why the United States is always in need of “boogeymen”—a growing list of non-white “others.”
Here’s the fact: the list of niggas never gets shorter, it only gets longer.
On September 11, 2001, “Arabs” became niggas. And in the irrational ways of hate, anybody who looks like those niggas become niggas-by-perception/association. So Sikhs, Jains, turban-wearing Hindus, and anybody else who idiots think belong to that group are Arab-niggas-by-perception/association. (East of Midnight, August 6)
On the anniversary of the bombing in Hiroshima, the Rev. Dr. George Kimmich Beach reflects on the violence in our world, and the work of making peace.
In a world that seems awash in violence, our voices need be raised and raised again for peace. . . . We as a society must take control of our own social context: dismantling hate groups, stopping the endless diet of gratuitous violence in mass entertainment, eliminating the politics of vilification and the megaphones provided to it by the mass media, and, of course, the total removal of automatic and so-called semi-automatic weapons. (Campicello, August 7)
Going through the storm
Separated by thousands of miles, the Rev. John Morehouse and his father face parallel storms.
As I drove from the airport to the hospital . . . I suddenly realized what had happened. I dove into that glacial lake in Yellowstone at the precise moment that [my father] had a heart attack swimming in a pond in Massachusetts. Our hearts had passed through the storm. His heart was all done now after 83 rich years. Mine still beating through the many more storms before me. (Facing Grace, August 5)
Jacqueline Wolven mourns the death of her beloved sister.
To know Ada, was to become part of her circle of fierce love.You couldn’t not be part of it, she pulled you in with her care, her laughter, and her sense of adventure. She loved you no matter what, flaws and all. Despite our issues later in life, I always knew she was there rooting for me, proud of all I did. There are no words that can share how hard it is to lose someone like that in your life. Except maybe, I will miss you, and I loved you, too. (MoxieLife, August 3)
A collegial conversation
The Rev. Dr. Victoria Weinstein responds to Doug Muder’s UU World essay, “It Takes All Kinds,” with a critique of the “pep rally atmosphere” of General Assembly, particularly when it is labeled as transformation.
Religious transformation, which I believe is the mission of any religious organization, is a far deeper, more challenging, intimidating and permanent work than getting jazzed up about a social issue at GA, or experiencing some fantastic “rah-rah UU” moments in huge worship services . . . .
Religious transformation is not just about my awareness of someone else’s plight. It is first and foremost about my awareness of my own plight as a regular old screwed up human being. . . . I don’t need more fires lit under my furious, self-righteous, easily agitated posterior. I need a daily dose of “Honey, our first principle is NOT that we affirm the inherent worth and dignity of everything that comes out of your mouth.” (PeaceBang, August 8)
Weinstein’s friend and colleague, the Rev. Tom Schade, suggests that her post is part of an “evolving circular discussion among ourselves about what is wrong with ourselves.”
UU . . . discourse usually ends with a some vision of what we should say and we should do. Unfortunately, it often seems like not nearly as much energy and genius has gone into that vision than has gone into the analysis of what we are now doing, and doing wrong. Our vision is often at the end and buried under a lot of snark and self-deprecation verging on self-disgust. (thelivelytradition, August 8)
Flames burning bright—and burning out
Ellen Snoeyenbos encourages congregations to light the worship chalice all summer long.
Light bulb moment: life doesn’t take a vacation. If worship matters in helping cope with life, it should happen year ’round. Some churches lift this value up. In working class communities especially, those of us who only get a two week vacation, know that year-round church matters. We’re coping with the messiness of Life 24/7, 52 weeks a year. Life is hard. That’s why we thought church might help. (worship changes lives, August 3)
Christine Leigh Slocum shares the reality that sometimes worship attendees burn out as much as worship planners and leaders do.
I have not been to church. To keep part of a community takes a piece of your time, energy and soul. My journey readjusted and now my candle’s a bit shorter than it was. Is it selfish to try to keep these pieces, for now, and hope to expand outward once they are back in place? (Seattleite from Syracuse, August 8)
Around the blogosphere
The Rev. Meg Riley begins a series of blog posts counting down the days until voters decide on an anti-gay ballot initiative in Minnesota.
I can feel myself getting more brittle as this anti-gay ballot initiative heats up in Minnesota. I find myself wanting to blurt out to virtual strangers, “Can you even imagine what it would be like to have your family’s mere existence up for a vote?” (Rev. Meg Riley, July 30)
The young adult bloggers at Vive Le Flame publish a series of post about relationships, including Peter McDonald’s post, “How About We Not Talk About Relationships?”
The whole time I was in YRUU . . . . I wanted to forge meaningful spiritual relationships with everyone there. By and large, I believed this was the norm, and any failure to achieve such relationships was a failure on my part. But in overheard conversations, in more unguarded moments, I would see the cracks. Chaplains hooking up (or trying to) with their chaplainees, sex in church closets, gossip about crushes and couples being some of the most enthusiastic conversations. (Vive Le Flame, August 8)
The Rev. David Pyle makes a few observations about humanity—from behind the wheel of his Smart Car.
Mixing the Smart Car with other parts of my identity can be hard for people to do. I pulled into a gas station on the Pacific Coast Highway to get a soda (I didn’t need gas, you see). I was headed home from a weekend drill, and so I was in my Army Combat Uniform (digital camouflage). The sight of a fairly big soldier getting out of a Smart Car led about half of the people filling up their cars to fall down laughing, and the others just to stare, unable to compute. I just smiled and went in to get my Cream Soda. (Celestial Lands, August 8)
With her family’s permission, the Rev. Dan Harper shares a video about the presidential election made by a second grader who attends the Palo Alto UU congregation.
Whether or not you share her political opinions, she is articulate, personable, and fun—able to express her views politely and respectfully—just the way we want our UU kids to be. Nor is it surprising that a UU kid would get involved in politics at a young age—after all, we do encourage our kids to live out their values in the real world. (Yet Another Unitarian Universalist, August 8)