Veterans Day, ‘self-evident truths,’ responding to suffering, and more

Observing Veterans Day

On Veterans Day, the Rev. Dan Schatz reflects on the ways we still fail our veterans.

We ignore the real health problems that are the aftereffects of war. We fail to provide adequate mental health care, and employment support. We ignore their families too often. Somehow we can’t seem to bring ourselves to sacrifice for the people who have sacrificed for us. (The Song and the Sigh, November 11)

Sara Lewis shares her gratitude for all that she learned in the National Guard, and for her husband’s safe return from service in Iraq.

War is never a good thing. I wish our leaders the wisdom and will to always work for peaceful solutions. But for those who fight, it is different. They serve, with the very safety of their bodies, hearts, and souls on the line. Thank you to all who have sacrificed and served. (The Curriculum of Love, November 12)

Precious individuals, woven together

For the Rev. James Ford, the First and Seventh UUA Principles are “self-evident truths.”

We can’t look at one of our children without understanding that assertion about the precious individual. . . . And, there is, within my experience, no way to avoid the fact we are all related, every blessed one of us, made of the same stuff, blood of each others blood, woven out of each other. (Monkey Mind, November 15)

Liz James honors the sacred humanity in all children, no matter their learning styles.

I see the journey of Eric’s growth clearly spelled out–like a path of gold stars. . . . He is focussed, organized, and determined. I cannot see a line of stars stretching into the future for John. . . . I see John’s journey as jagged and filled with fragility—like a moth’s journey. He doesn’t get a path—he gets flashes of light. Moments of potential. (Rebel with a Labelmaker, November 15)

When suffering comes to you

The Rev. Marguerite Sheehan writes about what we do about suffering, when it comes our way.

Suffering comes to all of us, in small amounts for some and in bucket loads for others. We can avoid it but it is a rare person that does not have it come to them. . . . [Pain] and suffering not only come to us but are for us because they comes to our door with our name on it and we then we are changed/transformed, by the pain and suffering itself and also by how we address it, cope with it, accept it . . . . (Reverend Marguerite, November 13)

The Rev. Don Southworth remembers Summer Dale, a courageous 16-year-old who died earlier this month.

Summer told her family and friends that cancer was a blessing because it brought so many wonderful people and experiences into her world. As death approached, she asked them to promise her they would let people know “I’m not scared of this. I am not afraid.”  (Calltrepreneurship, November 14)

Lizard Eater writes the final post in a blog that has chronicled her journey toward ordination and her daughter’s journey to being a long-term survivor of cancer.

It was just supposed to be a little blog where I could vent about being a Unitarian Universalist student in an evangelical seminary.

And along the way . . .

Well, along the way, my baby daughter got cancer. Twice. And my journey through seminary to ministry took 8 years. And I wept bitter tears over my keyboard. Many of you cried with me. And prayed for us. And taught me as much about community, and love, and God, as anything else in my life. (The Journey, November 13)

Love makes a family

Chrystal travels to Iowa to marry Jeanne, and takes us along for the ride.

Even if our marriage is never recognized by the state we live in or by the federal government, we are so happy we made this trip. We have hopes that it be legal everywhere one day, but in the meantime, we know in our hearts that we are legally married and that we will continue to love each other . . . at least one more day than we have so far. (The Spirit Within, November 12)

The Rev. Meg Riley writes the final post in her series, “Minnesota votes on my family.”

Of everything I loved about this campaign . . . my favorite thing is this: It was completely positive. It was a campaign for love. . . . We said, “Love is love. I want my uncle/daughter/brother/best friend to be able to marry the person they love.”  (Huffington Post Religion, November 9)

Thankful on Staten Island, mentoring young women, and more

The Rev. Susan Karlson, minister of the Unitarian Church of Staten Island, provides an update about her congregation’s Hurricane Sandy relief efforts.

For over two weeks, we have been acting as a drop off location and coordinating donations from the North Shore of Staten Island to the South Shore. It has been full time work to help relieve the extreme suffering here on the Island. . . . We here on Staten Island cannot express our gratitude enough for all the wide community support we are receiving across the country. In this season of giving thanks, it is so abundantly clear that we are all interconnected in myriad ways. (Minister’s Musings, November 13)

John Beckett responds to a Forbes article that asks whether the David Petraeus-Paula Broadwell affair points to dangers in older men mentoring younger women.

I am a 50 year old, mostly-healthy, straight man. I am currently mentoring a 21 year old woman. Erin is young, friendly, energetic and attractive. But I can’t even contemplate an affair with her. . . . Why is that? Because I have commitments I am honor-bound to keep and those commitments are stronger than any attraction I may feel. (Under the Ancient Oaks, November 14)

Beginning with a conversation about hunting, and then moving beyond, Elizabeth argues for a humble approach to life, seeking to do less harm.

[As] both a call and a prayer I say to myself—less harm, I’m sorry, less harm, and I’m sorry, calling myself to do less harm while also knowing that I cannot stop it.

It may be that churches and people faith might take a similar position, acknowledging the ways we are products of a broken world, but also acknowledging and celebrating the ways that we can take small steps toward something different. (Elizabeth’s Little Blog, November 14)