The Easter story, the red equal sign, gun culture, and more UU conversation

The Easter story

Terri Pahucki agrees with her daughter, who says that, “Christians have really cool stories.”

[The] message in the Catholic church and the message in the Unitarian church are the same. And my kids get it. There isn’t some grand myth that I need to recreate, or something else other than what we already have in all its scattered parts which makes the holiday meaningful. . . . This is mythos and meaning enough—to celebrate the resurrected life that is all around us, and to recognize divinity rising in the most humble of corners. (Walking the Journey, March 31)

James Ford offers a Zen koan for Holy Saturday.

“You find yourself in a stone crypt. There is no window and the door is locked from the outside. How are you free?”

A good question, I find.

And, particularly, on this day. God is dead. You are dead. Dead. Dead.

How are you free?

Now, that’s something for the human heart to break on. (Monkey Mind, March 30)

Christine Leigh Slocum discovers that she is as agnostic about Easter as she is about God.

The part of Easter worth celebrating, to me, is not so much that God will return to save the world. It is that Jesus was around to spread teachings of compassion and love and that they’ve stuck.

Well, they have sort of stuck. Turns out that these ideas are as hard to institutionalize as they can be hard to live. . . . So tomorrow is Easter, and I am still not sure how or if to celebrate. (Seattleite from Syracuse, March 30)

The Rev. Tony Lorenzen finishes his Lenten series about depression with an Easter post about resurrection.

The reality for people living with depression is things get so dark that literally, physically dying seems a better option than going on. Many of us deal with the very real demon of suicidal thinking. Depression is about, if it is “about” anything, the reality of dying to one’s self—really losing a part or parts of yourself over and over—and then somehow finding a way to come back. Resurrection is not about coming back to life, it is about coming into a new life. (Sunflower Chalice, March 31)

The red equal sign

When the Supreme Court heard oral arguments on two marriage equality cases, the Human Rights Campaign offered a red version of its well-known “equal sign” logo. Many marriage equality supporters changed their Facebook profile pictures to the red equal sign, or to one of its numerous spin-offs. The emotional impact on the LGBT community was profound; many of us cried as we watched our Facebook walls turning red in an outpouring of support, much of it from straight allies. 

Widespread adoption of the HRC logo, however, prompted criticism from other members of the LGBT community, who object to the HRC’s lack of commitment to broader issues of justice.

The Rev. Tom Schade questions whether those who criticize the Human Rights Campaign and its red equal sign logo are ready to do more than just critique.

[Is] the Left of the Left ready to lead? Not just critique the present leadership, but take the lead of the whole movement?

. . . Yes, I heard some complaining about HRC, but there was not the sound of a different leadership, one that spoke to the historical moment. Not one that offered millions of people a way to be a drop of water in a tidal wave. (the lively tradition, April 2)

Theresa Ines Soto’s initial reaction was frustration with the left’s nitpicking, but as she listened and thought about it, she came to agree with their complaints about the agenda and the actions of the Human Rights Campaign. (audio recording, Inexplicable Beauty, April 1)

Changing the gun culture

Five members of the Rev. Dr. Marilyn Sewell’s extended family were killed with guns; speaking from that experience, she calls for a change in the gun culture, beginning with changes in the law.

[When] guns are so easily accessible, and so many deaths are occurring, we have to start somewhere. How can we shift consciousness in a violent and gun-saturated culture? Cultural change takes time, but we can begin with the rule of law, the way we ended slavery, the way we gave women the right to vote, the way we integrated public schools. Let sensible laws lead the way. Changes in consciousness will follow. (HuffPost Religion, March 29)

Spirituality and religion

After years of evading the question, “Are you religious?” Andrew Hidas has a confident new answer.

Religion is the preeminent work of the human imagination that reflects and attempts to answer our acute need for a language of depth, wonder, moral guidance and meaning, and assists us in the practice of compassion and community.

Under this definition, I have been able to arise from my slightly crouched hemming and hawing and proclaim, “Damn right I’m religious!”

Let the awe, wonder, mystery and majesty—and Golden Ruling—begin. The tools are right there for you, sitting atop your shoulders. And in the warm confines of your chest. (traversing, March 29)

The Rev. Dr. David Breeden writes that “Life, you’ve noticed, is serious.”

In all seriousness, it kicks
your butt, then, in all seriousness
laughs about it. . . .

It’s out to beat you until you
know there’s no you to beat. (Quest for Meaning, April 4)

Rebecca Hecking invites us to expend the effort needed to live a conscious, mindful life.

The easy default is to allow oneself to be swept up into the maelstrom of data, to be distracted from the pain of life with one cool app after another. . . . Practically every day I fall into the stream of excessive busy-ness, and have to clamor out onto the muddy bank, sopping wet with texts and dripping Facebook status updates. But I persist. And the more I do, the easier it gets. (Breath and Water, April 4)

Playing on Peter Bowden’s UUTV is this video, in which UU ministers were asked, “What do you call the holy?” (Unitarian Universalism TV, March 24)

A silly religion?

When a Washington Post column suggests that Unitarian Universalism is a “silly” religion, the Rev. Fred Muir responds by detailing the important work his congregation was engaged in while the columnist was writing her “misguided column.”

If you detect a slight edge to my words, you’re right.  I’ve grown quite tired of outsiders—and insiders, as in our own members and friends—whose misunderstanding of Unitarian Universalism leads them to conclusions and then utterances that are at best wrong and at worst offensive.  My hope and prayer is to see the day when we no longer must endure the silly ignorance of the uninformed. (Building the Beloved Community, April 4)

The Washington Post also printed UU responses to the column.

UUA critiques

Kari Kopnick gives voice to a common reaction to the news that there will be no Fahs Lecture at this year’s General Assembly.

I’m furious. I have no idea what happened, but I feel quite strongly that it needs to be remedied immediately. I call on the General Assembly Program Development Group to find a way to bring the Fahs lecture to the people who need it, and remember to book a large room—it is often attended by hundreds of GA attendees.

And please, someone tell me what on earth happened to allow the Fahs lecture, at least, to be left out of the schedule of workshops. I’m listening, or trying to around my anger and disappointment. (Chalice Spark, March 29)

The Rev. Dan Harper posts his responses to a recent UUA Board survey.

I get no sense that the Board feels itself accountable to a higher purpose or calling. These statements sound like the worst of nonprofit culture—attendant to all the fads, paying lip service to social innovation, but ultimately stuck in some kind of strange stasis. This does not make me feel very hopeful about the UUA’s future—while I’m feeling very hopeful about some of the things that I’ve seen happening out in the real world. (Yet Another Unitarian Universalist, April 1)

The Rev. Scott Wells reacts to the implication, in a press release from UUA President Peter Morales, that UUA staff cuts resulted from member congregations not upholding our common covenant.

[Once] again, covenant is trotted out as a tool to scold. (When do you ever hear covenant described as a tool for happiness?)

. . . . Theological language will only go so far. The institution of the UUA provides services for its members, though I’m often left wondering if the services provided are worth the money or trouble. . . . Emotional appeals will only got you so far, and with tight money and a culture that’s more connected, secular and tolerant, they won’t go very far. (Boy in the Bands, April 1)