Whine and be happy, health care, the shutdown, and more

Teach us to be nimble

As a government shutdown drew near, and became reality, UUs had quite a bit to say about the situation. We’ve selected a few representative posts below, and you can find more with a search on UUpdates using a word like “shutdown.”

The Rev. Dan Schatz, whose parents were federal employees when he was a child, points out the pain a shutdown inflicts on government workers.

We don’t hear very much in the national media about the people who will be directly hurt when the government shuts down. This isn’t just about whether we’ll be able to visit a national park or go to the Smithsonian; it’s about ordinary working people’s lives. Nobody should have to lose their credit rating, or heaven forbid their home, or go hungry, because a group of politicians decide to throw a temper tantrum. (The Song and the Sigh, September 30)

The Rev. Thom Belote, writing from a conservative district, shares the lessons he learns from his representative’s Facebook page.

Let’s face it: Remember those promises about cutting spending and reducing the size of government, about standing up to Obama and working to repeal the Affordable Care Act? Those promises are being fulfilled by the sequester, by the shutdown, and by whatever the House has planned when it comes time to raise the debt ceiling. All those calls for members of congress to go without pay during the shutdown are misguided. The members of congress responsible for the shutdown are simply doing the job they promised they would do when elected. (RevThom, October 2)

The Rev. Jude Geiger offers a prayer for times of economic hostage-taking.

Teach us to be nimble where we are stiff,
Open where are closed,
and to lean toward love when our hearts are hard. (Rev. Who, September 29)

We can’t afford not to

The Rev. Kristin Grassel Schmidt shuts down the myth that some people “don’t need” health insurance, reminding us that we all need help sometimes, and that we are all in this together.

Insured Americans are already subsidizing the system; they are already paying for coverage they “don’t need” because it’s actually money going to cover other people who thought they “didn’t need” it. . . . This inflation of fees and insurance premiums then makes it all the more difficult for the nation’s poor and working classes to afford insurance. (Wanderingfollower, September 30)

Drawing on personal experience, Jonah Eller-Isaacs urges his fellow young adults to get insured.

i find it best to not dwell on it.

but the sad fact is, it’s more than likely that i could have avoided the agony of living with cancer the last five-plus years had i gone to the doctor when i first noticed the unusual mole on my thigh.

but i didn’t. because i didn’t have health insurance. (groinstrong, October 1)

The Rev. Scott Wells asks if participating in the UUA health plan still provides tangible benefits, and the Rev. Richard Nugent explains why continued enrollment with the UUA plan is the best option for most people.  (Boy in the Bands, October 1, and PNWD News, October 1)

Whine—and be happy

After declaring a “Whining Day” on her Facebook page, the Rev. Dr. Victoria Weinstein celebrates the outpouring of complaint.

You all keep up that whining. Go right ahead. Be my guest. I hope it feels good to get it out somewhere. I hope it feels good to be in such good company. And if anyone tries to make you feel better by saying something like, “Count your blessings!” tell them that every dog needs to put its head back and have a good howl now and then.

And invite them to join you in a nice whine. (PeaceBang, October 2)

Rebecca Hecking suggests an alternative strategy—making a happy list.

Feeling like the world is spinning out of control? Me too.
In response to the current madness,  I offer my personal list (in no particular order) of ten simple things  that make me happy. . . . Make your own list.
It will bring a moment of sanity and peace in a world gone mad. (Breath and Water, October 3)

Faith formation

As his congregation nears its tenth anniversary in their building, the Rev. Dr. Carl Gregg points out the spiritual benefits of stability.

Although I will be the first to admit that some people, communities, and places are more toxic than helpful, there are many good people and places out there. And in our transient, globalized, instant-satisfaction age of designed obsolescence, there is a transformative power of committing to a long time in one good place, among good people—allowing yourself to know and be known. (Pluralism, Pragmatism, Progressivism, October 1)

The Rev. Joseph Santos-Lyons lists some of his spiritual practices related to a sense of place.

One of the rituals I formed as a young adult was to do my best to always consider my physical place and ask about the people who called it their home in the present and past. I always learn something new. Another ethos I developed is around only traveling to places where I have a relationship and invitation. . . . Lastly, I have sought to intentionally be present in places where there have been terrible injustices and great transformations.  (Radicalhapa, September 29)

The Rev. Erik Walker Wikstrom asks, “What if the DRE ran the church?” (A Minister’s Musings, October 3)

Living with open hearts

Evin C. Ziemer responds to a critic who says that Brene Brown’s approach to shame victimizes those already oppressed.

The double tragedy of the shame that we learn when we live with oppression is that the shame weighs us down and disconnects us from ourselves at the same time it disconnects us from others. There may be those who will never connect with us, but there are many people who will, if we can show up wholehearted, vulnerable, and open. (Wholehearted Spirit, September 28)

Theresa Ines Soto illustrates Ziemer’s point with a tale of two bus drivers.

The biggest challenge ableism presents for me is not whether I am included or excluded, or even whether I am judged. The biggest challenge ableism presents is the temptation to shut the doors of my heart and not open them unless the situation seems safe. (Inexplicable Beauty, October 1)

Swimming in Christian waters

The Rev. Dr. David Breeden suggests five options for a non-Christian living in an overwhelmingly Christian country.

I think there are five options: convert, pretend, reinterpret, admit you don’t believe but allow for doubt, resist. (Quest for Meaning, October 3)

Andrew Sullivan posts a response by an unnamed Unitarian Universalist to the question of grieving as an atheist—or, more accurately, providing support to someone who is grieving.

Here’s what you can say: “I hear you.” “I brought you some supper.” “I’ll put it in the refrigerator.” “I’ll help you with the acknowledgement notes” “Yes.” “You’re right.” “Let me give you a hug.” “I know she loved you.” “I know she knew you loved her.” What the bereaved says and the bereaved needs determine what you say, not your religious beliefs. (The Dish, October 1)