Rejecting destructive theology, life and death, and more from UU bloggers

Rejecting destructive theology

The Rev. Dr. Marilyn Sewell takes a strong position against destructive theology.

I am finding myself increasingly intolerant—specifically, of the theology and practice of many evangelical Christians. . . . [For] the damage that conservative Christianity does to people and for its perpetuation of prejudice and hate, I must reject this tradition. I believe those who teach it and preach it are doing great harm, and I in no way wish to be an ally. (Marilyn Sewell, October 19)

The Rev. Dan Schatz rejects the irresponsible theology behind the suggestion, made by an Indiana candidate for the U.S. Senate, that pregnancy resulting from rape might be “what God intends.”

This strikes me as a very strong statement about the nature of God, and a theology that is at best brutal and at worst shallow, inconsistent and arrogant. . . . I call such a theology brutal because it affirms a God who is ultimately responsible for all of the evil and suffering in the world.  (The Song and the Sigh, October 24)

The Rev. Lynn Ungar also responds to the Senate candidate’s statement, sharing her own complex and personal theology.

I won’t presume to speak for God, but I will tell you what I think. When a woman is raped, God’s body is torn as her body is torn. When a fetus is aborted, some piece of God’s potential is lost. But God’s potential is infinite, and a woman reclaiming her life is no less a part of God’s potential. Indeed, every moment when every person chooses life, whatever that might mean to that person at the time, is a part of the potential of God unfolding. (Quest for Meaning, October 25)

Kim Hampton laments the theology behind the controversial statements about abortion and rape, and issues a challenge to religious liberals.

Religious liberals must get into the theological marketplace on the internet and counter the theologies that drive us toward death and destruction and injustice (thanatos) with theologies that move us toward life and beauty and justice (eros).

Religious liberals ignore this time in history at our peril. It’s time to get to work. (East of Midnight, October 24)

A good death, and a well-lived life

Deb Weiner shares a deeply personal perspective on the “death with dignity” ballot initiative in Massachussetts.

In the face of . . . difficult decisions, our family was lifted up:  by the compassionate physicians who were willing to support my father’s request; by the friend of decades who was willing to stand by; by the minister who – while acknowledging her own belief in the value of life until the last breath is taken – was willing to honor my father’s last wish. (Morning Stars Rising, October 22)

Elizabeth feels trapped between striving to live well—and actually living well.

We are caught in a hologram. I feel caught in it, but there is no red pill, no way to step out of it, to snap out of it and I think about what I should do to get out – meditate, go to yoga, take time to be present, make better plans, manage time better, get therapy, read more books or better books, and I just add these things onto my to do list and run from meeting to class to meeting, somehow feeling good about myself as I ease the pain with the balm of doing. (Elizabeth’s Little Blog, October 22)

The chalice on our hearts

Lizard Eater gives her testimony—more personal than an “elevator speech.”

I have done a lot of spiritual exploring in my life. . . . I have been a potpourri of thought, I have been entirely devoid of faith, I have been filled with the richness of theology, philosophy, and the direct experience of the transcending mystery.

And through it all, I have always been a Unitarian Universalist. This religion saved me and every day, it saves me again. (The Journey, October 22)

June Herold wears her chalice pendant as a prayer.

When Heather connects the clasps on my pendant before a flight to Dublin, we both are silently blessing the pilots, attendants, controllers, and airport personnel, thanking them for doing their best to make sure I arrive. . . .

I don’t wrap my knuckles on wood for good luck. I don’t spit twice over my shoulder the way elders in my family did when I was a kid. I’m not superstitious. But when I’m wearing my chalice, I’m praying. (The New UU, October 19)

Fun with social media

The Rev. Brian Kiely recaps his congregation’s first “Tweet service,” for which the topic was “Healthy Sexuality.”

The folks who were broadcasting from the service were introducing their friends a. to the idea of they go to a church, b. church can be kind of cool, c.  content from a service was shared live showing why they like church.  This is living breathing outreach, the old ‘Bring a Friend’ Sunday done in a whole new way. (Divining the Digital Reformation, October 24)

Peter Bowden offers “a glimpse of how Unitarian Universalists can collaborate with amazing results.”

Late September 2012 we started a Facebook group called the UU Media Collaborative to bring together UU creatives who want to work together to share our faith and raise the quality of UU Media. . . . The first week (according to Facebook) over 50,000 people saw the images and 3,000+ were “talking about” the content. (UU Planet, October 23)

Around the blogosphere

The Rev. Daniel Harper continues his series about innovation in liberal congregations, distinguishing between radical innovation and borrowing.

I would suggest that congregations that want to innovate would be well advised not to worry about radical innovation, and instead to think about how to borrow ideas and practices that have worked elsewhere. (Yet Another Unitarian Universalist, October 22)

The Rev. Ellen Cooper-Davis considers how the presidential candidates’ religious backgrounds influence their approaches to politics.

Romney, a Mormon, practices his faith in a highly structured, hierarchical, male-dominated environment. . . . Obama, a liberal Christian, would be familiar with the congregational church, where the faith is governed by democratic process, and where there isn’t hierarchy—there is covenant and collaboration (in congregational polity, the congregation is the highest authority).  (Keep the Faith, October 23)