Fighting hard battles, Cosmos, evangelism, and more

Fighting hard battles

Liz James tells her story of becoming a shoplifter while in foster care—and unlearning the habit.

I thought that the choices I made were solely mine—that I became a thief through my own weakness, and I stopped stealing through my own strength. I know now, that this isn’t true. I was the same person in both stories—what changed was my context and the supports around me. . . .

They say it takes a village to raise a child, and I know what they mean because I was raised by a village. It took a lot of people pulling on my bootstraps along with me—and we shouldn’t leave it up to chance who gets that kind of support and who doesn’t. (Rebel with a Labelmaker, March 10)

Jordinn Nelson Long rejects a sentimental, self-sacrificing model of motherhood.

Yes, somebody needs me. Lots of people, every day.
They need the adult me. The responsible me. The vulnerable me. The honest me.
I have worked too hard, for too long—and standing on the shoulders of my mother and my grandmothers and of their mothers—to deny all that I am.
I contain multitudes. You do, too.
And don’t you dare call me Mommy. (Raising Faith, March 10)

The Rev. Tamara Lebak writes about strength and vulnerability.

Being strong is not about insensitivity. It’s not about being tough. It’s about vulnerability. And we are called in the church to show up for each other over and over again to the degree that we feel we can, as vulnerable as we can muster, so that we can become stronger out there in the world.

Because there are a lot of times out there in the world when all you can do is buckle up and bear down. (Under the Collar in Oklahoma, March 13)

No matter who said it, the Rev. Megan Lloyd Joyner loves the quote, “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.”

We know not the burdens our neighbor or the stranger in the check-out line carry, just as they know not what we bear. It helps to remember that each and all of us are, at one time or another, and more often than not, fighting some sort of great battle. We would do well to be kind, as we pray that others will be kind to us. (Quest for Meaning, March 10)

Jacqueline Wolven learns a valuable lesson about kindness—after answering the phone while tired.

[When] I am tired my kindness goes down the tubes and I become a whiney petulant child. It isn’t pretty and I am not proud of those moments. . . .

The second I hung up I realized that kindness would have been the better answer. Kindness would have built a relationship. Kindness would have moved things forward. (Jacqueline Wolven, March 10)

The Rev. Theresa Novak reminds us that our hands can change the world.

If God is sleeping
I’d like to know
How to wake the Holy up
Most likely God is asking
That same question
Of everyone of us. (Sermons, Poetry, and other Musings, March 10)

Science, faith and the Cosmos series

The Rev. James Ford puts the new Cosmos television series in the context of declining respect for science, at a time when it is desperately needed.

We need some serious thinkers.

And, maybe, just possibly, Dr Tyson will inspire some new youth to think of science, or, at least, to think critically. Maybe even to see how intimately we are all connected, and what a this-worldly concern can birth.

So, I have a small glowing ember of a coal. A wish. A hope. (Monkey Mind, March 9)

John Beckett shares his perspective on the first episode of the series.

Science is a wonderful servant, but it is a soulless master.

The cosmos is amazing and it fills me with wonder and awe. The new Cosmos is beautiful and fascinating and I hope the whole country watches it. We need a greater appreciation for science and a greater respect for the findings of science.

But I remain a polytheist and a pantheist, a Druid and a priest. (Under the Ancient Oaks, March 11)

UU evangelism

The Rev. Bill Sinkford recounts two different congregations’ histories of evangelism, and asks what choices his own congregation will make.

Our liberal religious tradition resists any notion that we might be limited or even trapped by our history. Our theology proclaims that revelation is not sealed, that history must be known but that history is not the final word. . . .

What, in this place and time, recognizing the history from which we come and the reality in which we live, are we called to do? (Rev. Sinkford’s Blog, March 13)

Thomas Earthman offers three not-so-easy evangelism steps. (I Am UU, March 10)

Other UU voices

Doug Muder has been critical of the New Atheists, but notes that “divine decrees” can make critical thinking difficult.

Once a mistake [in thinking] gets into the God-says-so citadel, it’s very hard to get it out.
And that’s got to make you wonder if you should have such a citadel at all. (Free and Responsible Search, March 12)

The Rev. Amy Zucker Morgenstern explains why her congregation held a singalong celebration memorial for Pete Seeger.

We UUs clearly aren’t ready to move beyond our brother UU, Pete Seeger. On the contrary, we’d better run if we’re ever going to catch up with him. (Sermons in Stones, March 7)

Curious about Missional Unitarian Universalism? Wondering about the recent Life on Fire gathering? Watch this week’s episode of The VUU.