After the storm, finding beauty, and more UU blogging

After the storm

The Rev. Stefanie Etzbach-Dale, a Queens, N.Y., native serving a congregation in California, offers a prayer in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.

May those who have lost “that which was stored up,” whether goods or hope, be accompanied by our generosity and good will. May each find a safe resting place for body and spirit and come to claim again the beauty that is life, despite its storms. (Rev. Stefanie’s Blog, October 30)

The Rev. Katie Norris shares her experience of caring for her mother, who suffers from dementia, during an extended post-Sandy power outage in Cleveland.

Our church has been open for people to warm up and recharge and invited families in tonight to play games and watch movies. There are SO many people willing to help right now, but I never realized that when someone is homebound it is not so easy to help them in a situation like this. (Moving In With Dementia, October 31)

The Rev. Tom Schade encourages people of liberal religious faith not to demonize people who do not follow evacuation orders.

Maybe they had a good reason, maybe not. Maybe they had no other choice, or no way to get anywhere else, or nowhere to go. Or no cash to get there. (the lively tradition, October 31)

Kim Hampton wonders, “What will we learn from the coverage and response to Sandy? Have we learned what we needed to from Katrina?”  (East of Midnight, October 29)

Finding beauty

After a particularly difficult October, Plaidshoes creates a “but list” that begins:

My Grandpa died. It was horribly sad. But, he had a long life, a loving family, and was ready to go.

I got ANOTHER speeding ticket. But, it was on the way to South Dakota to see family I haven’t seen in years and the ticket was worth it to get there sooner. (Everyday Unitarian, October 26)

The Rev. Dr. Kelly Murphy Mason reflects on a fellow church member’s observation that “sometimes people will destroy a thing because it [is] beautiful.”

Our faith communities may need to be heartbroken even more than they need to be safe. Above all, they need to not be afraid to be beautiful in a broken world. Because if beauty can someday be beheld in all its glory, that might finally be the very thing that can save us all. (The Reverend Dr., October 29)

Political and social issues

For those reading Michelle Alexander’s book The New Jim Crow (the UUA Common Read this year), the Rev. Dr. Cynthia Landrum recommends the blog of a former congregant who served time for armed robbery.

VanSumeren takes you beyond the surface story to understand how someone comes into that moment of desperation, what it’s like to be incarcerated, and what the struggles are after release for a convicted felon. It’s not always PC, and it’s sometimes raw, but it’s very real, and worth reading. (Rev. Cyn, October 31)

The Rev. Kent Hemmen-Saleska asks, “What gives us the right to vote on love?”

Ultimately, though, what I’d love to see is that the state get out of the marriage business altogether. The state does not invest me with the authority to marry two people. My congregation invests me with that authority. The couple invests me with that authority. God, by whatever name God is known, invests me with that authority. (Moving in Faith, October 30)

The Rev. David Pyle explores the real-life consequences of believing in an omniscient and omnipotent God.

[Some] of the statements that have sparked a firestorm during this election campaign about rape and abortion come from a deeply rooted and committed theology of the Omniscience and Omnipotence of God. We should not be surprised when believers in this theology attempt to legislate it. We should simply not give them the opportunity to do so. (Celestial Lands, October 26)

Around the blogosphere

Christine Organ devises a strategy for explaining to her children why their family attends church.

This is definitely a work-in-progress, but above all, I believe that it is important to empathize with our children’s feelings and acknowledge that even adults struggle with mixed feelings about church, religion, and spirituality. (Huffington Post Religion, October 30)

The Rev. Dan Harper offers a series of UU-friendly Thanksgiving graces to meet the occasion more appropriately than this one:

[One] year at Thanksgiving our eldest cousin said she was going to say grace before dinner, using a grace she had heard in her UU congregation’s youth group. My mother and father and aunt and uncle all liked the idea, and told her to go ahead. She had us all join hands, and then said, “Rub-a-dub-dub, thanks for the grub, yay God!” (Yet Another Unitarian Universalist, October 29)

The Rev. James Ford recommends Cloud Atlas as a movie with a Unitarian Universalist message.

[It] is a movie marked through and through with hope and a call to compassion and a profound insight into our interrelatedness. And I’m content with that. (Monkey Mind, October 28)

The Rev. Elizabeth Curtiss argues that keeping UUA headquarters in Boston ties us to a particular historical perspective.

It doesn’t get mentioned a lot, but the number one problem with having our denominational headquarters . . . in Boston is that city’s long association with a particular view of religion and civilization, namely the City Shining on a Hill. (Politywonk, October 31)