‘Awake my soul,’ conversations about faith, change, incarnation and more

‘Awake my soul’

Lizard Eater exegetes the song “Awake My Soul” in the context of the minister-congregation relationship.

“But your soul you must keep, totally free.” Don’t substitute my judgment for yours. My job is to encourage you to strengthen your own soul, not to be a “vicar,” vicariously taking care of your spiritual needs.  (The Journey, September 26)

Patrick Murfin shares a poem about Yom Kippur—with a playful acknowledgement of UU concerns about cultural misappropriation.

[This] idea of being sorry and meaning it
of fixing things up that I broke
and starting fresh
has legs.

I think I’ll swipe it. (Heretic, Rebel, a Thing to Flout, September 26)

The Rev. James Ford writes that “the Universe isn’t here to give you lollipops and kiss your boo-boos.”

I opened my Facebook page to be treated with a quote attributed to the new age guru Eckhart Tolle, “Life will give you whatever experience is most helpful for the evolution of your consciousness. . . .”

I thought, my goodness, I guess, okay if you’re addressing a middle class person in the First world. . . . How would these words ring if addressed to a woman living in a refugee camp in Batai in the South Sudan watching her child dying of starvation? (Monkey Mind, September 27)

Good old fashioned conversation

Nicolas Cable asks, “Does being a socially and ethically responsible person in the 21st century require one to build authentic, supportive relationships with people from different religious and philosophical backgrounds?”

The answer for me . . . is yes. . . . [When] we can come together across lines of difference, a powerful revelation is made visible: a vision of a world where cooperation and collective activism are the norms, and peace and justice are the pillars of our shared strength. (Spiritual RevolUUtions, September 21)

Christine Organ wonders if deep conversation—perhaps aided by a bottle of wine—might help us learn to respect religious differences.

Faith sharing comes in many forms, but one of the most obvious forms of faith sharing is good old fashioned conversation. . . .

We live in a society that shuns faith sharing, particularly interfaith communication. . . . And interfaith relations suffer as a result. We forget that differences do not need to divide us; rather, acknowledging differences can be a means of expanding our options and opening our minds. (Random Reflectionz, September 21)

“UU Pew Sitter” reminds us of the importance of quieting our minds while engaged in the art of listening.

Too frequently, our ‘mental voice’ . . . clamors to be heard, like a belligerent two-year old demanding our attention. It deafens our ears as it busily spins an internal dialog of what we think or believe and what we should say next. It muffles other voices; it bullies and drowns them out. Like the adults in the Charlie Brown comics, our mind is so busy constructing our next words, all we truly hear is Waa, Waa, Waa.  (Thoughts from a UU pew, September 25)

The challenge of change

The Rev. Brian Kiely considers what “church” would look like if Sunday morning worship were no longer its center.

For well over a century, everything revolved around Sunday morning. . . . The revelation? That might not be a good way to see it any more. We need a bigger and more diverse understanding of just what IS church.  Perhaps the Sunday service needs to be seen as one activity in the whole circle of activities and opportunities. They are all ‘church’ individually and collectively.” (Ministerial Musings, September 25)

The Rev. Dan Harper points us to an explanation for congregational decline—a spiral of shame resulting from failing to navigate change.  (Yet Another Unitarian Universalist, September 24).

Celebrating incarnation

For the Rev. Dr. Marilyn Sewell, learning that Jesus might have been married is a chance to explore what it means to be fully human, and fully sexual.

When we are able to celebrate Jesus in the flesh, we understand that we, too, are called to incarnation, called to embody God’s Spirit in our earthly form. Perhaps this challenge is too daunting, so we prefer to strip Jesus of his humanness and to deny our own potential for divinity. (Marilyn Sewell, September 27)

The Rev. Meredith Garmon begins a series called, “”Just Love: Sexual Ethics Today,” with a post about radical inclusivity.

“Just love.” Don’t you love that double meaning? In one sense, “just love” is love that is fair and just. That’s important because sometimes sexual expression can be unjust. In another sense, “just love” is what we get when we pare away the projections, unrealistic expectations, and disappointments, and get down to nothin’ but the love. (Lake Chalice, September 25)

Around the blogosphere

For the Rev. Dr. Michael Tino, the political issues surrounding Medicare spending are very personal, because they affect his grandparents.

Our society is failing our elders. It is utterly contemptuous that someone who worked hard all of his life could be reduced to having to decide whether to seek the medical care he needs or ask his grandson for money.  (Quest for Meaning, September 25)

Religious liberals often point out the failings of big corporations; the Rev. Don Southworth asks, “What’s right about business?”

Business, like religion, is an easy target to bash. . . . And yet. Religious communities and ministers are fueled and paid by the money that is generated by businesses. . . . Men and women in business, whether for profit or not, are changing the lives of millions of people for the good. And they are doing it with integrity, compassion and even love. (Calltrepreneurship, September 22)