Boy Scouts, marriage equality, spiritual journeys, and more UU blogging

News from the Boy Scouts

The Rev. Bill Sinkford reacts to this week’s news that the Boy Scouts of America is re-thinking its national policy regarding sexual orientation.

I wish I could tell you that our [UU] religious advocacy made all the difference. This decision was apparently forced by two corporate representatives on the BSA Board. It is worth noting that on BGLT issues, many members of the corporate community have moved more rapidly than some religious groups. (Rev. Sinkford’s blog, January 31)

The Rev. Gary Kowalski hopes that the Boy Scouts will go even further, letting go of allegiance to narrow religious viewpoints.

Why don’t the Boy Scouts just drop the theology—where we human beings will never fully agree—and stick to what they do best: building camaraderie, teaching useful life skills, and fostering public service? . . . The Scouts need to get themselves untangled. Let’s hope this is one knot they can untie. (Revolutionary Spirits, January 31)

Marriage equality

When her partner proposes marriage, the Rev. Elizabeth Curtiss finds that her joy is tempered by pragmatism.

[Alas], financially, I can only do a non-legal blessing ceremony. Not because we’re both women, but because at low incomes, marriage gets heavily penalized. . . . So yes, do congratulate us, and celebrate our good fortune in so many ways. But if you really want to do something useful, to make this about more than just two women in a struggling once-middle-class household, put these injustices up next to your concerns about DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act) and devote yourself to any couple, straight or gay, who wants to get married—and simply can’t afford to. (Politywonk, January 31)

“Marry in Massachusetts” wonders how his grandmother would have reacted to the news that Jim Nabors (the actor who played Gomer Pyle) had married his partner, Stan, his love of 38 years.

[My] grandmother adored Nabors on The Andy Griffith Show and other TV, particularly where he’d sing—and was befuddled by and hostile to homosexuality. . . . Without the obnoxious aspects, she was a fundy, and I have no doubt she knew same-sex love to be sinful.

Grandmother Mable taught several generations to think for ourselves, to speak up at every lunch and dinner on every subject, to be well read and informed. She had her huge blind spots. I have to wonder whether she would have shifted over the decades. (Marry in Massachusetts, January 31)

Past, present, future

Asked to “honor the legacy” of justice-seeking as a participant in the 30 Days of Love, Sara Lewis considers another kind of legacy—that of privilege, prejudice, and racism.

We need heroes, we need to embrace our heritage of justice-seeking and honor those who came before us. But we ignore the icky bits of our heritage at our peril. How can we move forward to build the community and the world we dream of if we haven’t dealt with the baggage of the world we inherited? (The Curriculum of Love, January 25)

The Rev. Chip Roush tells the backstory of a famous quote from the Rev. Dr. Howard Thurman, and comments on its meaning.

With all the suffering and chaos in the world, it can be tempting to numb ourselves, or pursue all kinds of activities to distract or amuse ourselves. . . . As much as is possible, let us resist the impulse to escape. Let us rather enter the experience fully, and come so alive that we transform the moment with our own awareness. (So May We Be, January 30)

Attending a workshop on generational differences, the Rev. Dr. Cynthia Landrum considers how those differences affect congregational fundraising.

[I]f the generations are motivated by different things, not only does our membership and outreach efforts need to be targeted differently to each group, our pledge drive might be more effective if targeted differently to each group. (Rev. Cyn, January 30)

Spiritual journeys

Participating in an adult religious education class called “Owning Your Religious Past,” Chrystal thinks back to her childhood in the Roman Catholic tradition.

Taking part in this exploration of our religious past is bringing up lots of memories, but I also have realized this week that St. Peter’s is still a part of my present.  Seven weeks from today, I will be back in St. Peter’s Church. This time, though, I will be sitting in the front row, listening to my brother eulogize my father.  (The Spirit Within, January 31)

John Beckett writes about what works, and what doesn’t, about being an active participant in three religious traditions—Pagan, Druid, and Unitarian Universalist.

If I worried about what the UUs thought about the edgy Pagan stuff or what the Pagans thought about the traditional UU stuff, or if I tried to fit everything I did into that center section where all three circles overlap, I’d miss out on a lot of magic, both literal and metaphorical. More importantly, I wouldn’t be doing what I’m called to do. (Under the Ancient Oaks, January 25)

Blogging about blogging

The Rev. Sean Dennison confesses that he has lost the inspiration for his traditional blog, and introduces a new project.

The thought of writing a post here feels like writing essays—so many words—and that just seems dull. I’ve gotten used to the shorter formats and love the challenge of distilling my thoughts into 140 characters or an image. . . . I also have a secret project. It’s secret because some might find it too edgy, even offensive. Mostly because it does not avoid “the F word.” (ministrare, January 30)

Mandie McGlynn shares the evolution of her blog, as well as some of her UU design work.

When I started this blog, I thought it would be a typical photographer’s blog, with samples of my work and my commentary on that work. But then I thought, “why not make this blog that is named after me BE about me?”

This is my art. This is my religion. This is my family. This is my SELF. (Mandie McGlynn’s Blog, January 29)

Around the blogosphere

Liz James decides that the Meadville Lombard January term theme of “Crossing Boundaries” means that her fellow students should join her for lessons on the flying trapeze.

Mick’s injury was definitely the most significant.  He didn’t know he’d hurt himself, and bounded up, declaring “oops” and proceeded to clamber blithely out of the net, unaware that blood was pouring down his face.

I probably am not going to be the Worst Minister Ever, though, because good Ministry is about knowing what people need in a given moment. And, before the blood had actually stopped flowing, Mick was posting the pictures I’d so thoughtfully taken of him to Facebook. Which practically makes me a great minister already. (Rebel with a Label Maker, January 27)

The Rev. John Cullinan shares a prayer he offered before the New Mexico House of Representatives.

May you open your hearts wide enough to hold every person you serve, remember the common breath and the common dignity we all share—remember our faces today in this chamber, so that you may look us in the eyes when you leave, that we might know our trust has been well placed. (Your Life Is a Gospel, January 30)

Continuing a series on UU theology, the Rev. Dan Harper points to four areas of theological disagreement among Unitarian Universalists. (Yet Another Unitarian Universalist, January 28)