A new year dawns, responding to violence, and more from UU bloggers

A new year dawns

The Rev. Beth Cooper-Davis addresses the hope and despair of making New Year’s resolutions.

Each January, we give in to that glimmer of hope that this time we’ll be strong enough, or stubborn enough, or committed enough to the change. Many of us, however, fall off the wagon before too long. . . . We berate ourselves for our lack of willpower, we tell ourselves stories about why we’re not enough, we give ourselves labels, like “hypocrite” and “two-faced” because we once again failed to match our ideal to our reality. (Keep the Faith, December 30)

For Sarah MacLeod, the New Year highlights an existential angst in the search for truth and meaning.

I do think there is goodness in the existential angst. It serves as an honest acknowledgment that there is deep pain the world: divisions that need healing and people who need compassion. . . . And perhaps best of all, at least when I can turn a bit of light to the darkest of the gloom, is the reminder that love matters. (Finding My Ground, January 1)

Rather than making New Year’s resolutions, Christine Organ renews five “daily parenting resolutions.” (HuffPost Religion, December 31)

Responding to violence

Kim Hampton continues to challenge UU bloggers to respond to gun deaths in Chicago as they have to other tragedies, such as the shootings in Newtown, Connecticut.

Here are the facts: 506 people died because of gun violence in Chicago during 2012. 121 of those were CHILDREN. 6 Newtowns happened in Chicago and there was no national outrage or concern about it. And no UU mention of it. (East of Midnight, January 2)

As she thinks about gun violence, Liz James writes, “Somehow it doesn’t feel right to simply get louder in my conviction that the solution that is most convenient for me is the right one.”

Let’s stop fighting each other, and get on the same search team.  Let’s make it no longer socially acceptable to frame this issue as an adversarial debate between lobbyists.  It’s a waste of time.  And let’s stop confusing certainty of the value of a given solution with being committed to solving the problem. (Rebel with a Label Maker, December 25)

A UU sensibility

Joel Monka returns from a blogging sabbatical asking, “Is there a UU sensibility? If so, how would you describe it?”  (CUUMBAYA, January 1)

The Rev. Roger Jones wonders if Protestant Christian research is relevant to UU congregations—and concludes that it is.

Historically and sociologically, UUism is Protestant.  As part of the Main Line of American religion, we do reflect the dominant culture, and changes in culture affect most Main Line churches in the same ways.  (Ironicschmoozer’s Weblog, January 2)

“Raising Faith,” a Christian UU, addresses the challenge of coming to terms with our pre-UU religious history.

This I believe: we are not fully free to grow spiritually while we handle the religion of our past with garlic cloves and lead vests.  Coming to terms, together and individually, with our Christian heritage is needed. (Raising Faith, December 26)

In a follow-up post on Raising Faith, an anonymous UU minister responds.

In our enthusiasm to get past our aversion to our own Christian roots, we’ve sometimes sent the message to humanists that, if only you’d get past your childhood trauma with religion, you’d see the light and be open to Christianity (or theism.) Of course, that’s not true and is as insulting as the implication that when you get over your old irrational superstitions you’ll leave Christianity behind. (Raising Faith, January 1)

The Rev. Tom Schade begins a series of posts by arguing that “Today’s political conservatism is inconsistent with religious liberalism, and in particular, with Unitarian Universalism.”

Religious liberalism and political conservatism have diverged only recently. There used to be many Unitarian Republicans who were “socially liberal, fiscally conservative.”  Such a stance is no longer possible in the real world. (the lively tradition, December 30)

Around the blogosphere

The Rev. Peter Boullata acknowledges the imperfection of our Christmas experiences.

My experience is that people—myself included—get spooked during the December holidays, especially about Christmas, the way animals get spooked before a storm or natural disaster. . . . We try so hard for magic and love and community and familial harmony. . . . And then. Inevitably. Disappointment. (Held in the Light, December 22)

The Rev. Carl Gregg writes about the role Blue Christmas services play “when your days aren’t merry and bright.”

One hope of these services is to give people permission to be transparent and authentic about how they experience the holidays. To echo the refrain of a Blue Christmas litany written a few years ago for use in a Unitarian Universalist congregation, the hope is that, “We find comfort in naming these feelings; we find some peace in being together.”  (Carl Gregg, December 23)

The Rev. Dr. Andy Pakula tells the tale of a red squirrel and a robin helping each other through a difficult winter.

In the spring, they prepared to go their separate ways. Robin spoke first, “You know, you saved my life the day we met. I had chosen to let myself freeze.” And squirrel replied, “That’s why I was in the wind too. I was ready to give up. It was only because we met and joined our struggles together that we survived.” (Throw yourself like seed, December 24)