Love is the boss, witchcraft and wizardry, public theology, and more

Love is the boss

A flip comment—”My calendar is the boss of me”—makes the Rev. Deanna Vandiver re-evaluate her core commitments.

I serve in the name of love. Love for the world that is and the world that can be. Love for the wonder of creation and respect of destruction. Love for a faith community that meets us where we are and doesn’t leave us there. Love for you. Love for me.

It is easy in the days of overloaded calendars and underloaded bank accounts to forget. And it absolutely matters that we remember. (Quest for Meaning, June 17)

Amid all the anxiety and posturing that goes on in a hospital, Jordinn Nelson Long looks for the places where love lives.

What if we made it our number one job each day to remember that we aren’t a role or a title or a degree, not really? And that the one across from us, with the hair the color of your sister’s, or freckles, or dimples, or a gold tooth, and a look of fear or dread or hope or resignation—that person isn’t a patient or a stroke victim or a financial concern, not really?

What if we truly remembered this, with each phone call or e-mail or data input task:

I am a human being, here to serve other human beings–in love–and this entire institution exists, whether it knows it or not, to fulfill that mission.

Here. Now. In this very moment. (Raising Faith, June 14)

The nightmare of children crowded into a warehouse in Nogales breaks the Rev. Diane Dowgiert’s heart.

Frightened children.

Lonely children.

Crying children.

This is not a dream.

A living nightmare.

When will we awaken?

Decide to create a new reality?

Realize that we are all interconnected?

Know that what we do unto the least of these we do unto ourselves? (Transforming Times, June 18)

The Rev. Erik Martinez Resley shares “Love Reaches Out,” from the Sanctuaries in DC.

Public theology

The Rev. Tom Schade explains what he means by “public theology.”

Public theology is the explanation of human society, social institutions and governments. If you a theist, it explains the existence of governments, nations and social institutions in God’s plan. Even if you are not a theist, it explains the fundamental moral foundations of social life. (The Lively Tradition, June 17)

Schade also shares four core statements of liberal public theology.

The world is unfair, but it gets better.

The opposite of love is not hate but indifference.

You can’t hate somebody after you hear their story.

Everything causes everything. (The Lively Tradition, June 19)

Truth and meaning

Liz James wonders how to learn to do ministry beyond “the shadow of the cross.”

I am not in a Christian seminary, but we learn in the shadow of the cross. Our understanding of what a Minister is comes from Priests and Pastors, not from Gurus, Shamans, or Traditional Faith Healers. We may be like Priests, or we may be different from them, but the exploration is shaped by that story. (Free Range Seminarian, May 28)

The Rev. Dr. David Breeden warns us about the fantasy of finding “Truth.” (Theopoetics, June 19)

Maps, graphs, and other toys

The Rev. Dan Harper looks at geographic data about Unitarian Universalism, and shares his conclusions—that in most places in the US, UUism barely makes a dent, and that in a few places, UUs are common enough to feel like a mainstream religion. (Yet Another Unitarian Universalist, June 14)

The Rev. Scott Wells creates a bar graph to show density of UUs by region—and is surprised by the results.

I knew that New England was the “homeland” and you are more likely to find a small-town churches there; I was still shocked to see the disparity between New England states and everywhere else. I had thought earlier Universalist missions, the Fellowship movement and subsequent population drifts had smoothed out the distribution. (Boy in the Bands, June 17)

Wells is also surprised by an article that defined “micro-church” as a “gathering of 30 or so folks.”

Gott im Himmel. If an attendance of thirty makes a micro-church, what does that make Unitarian Universalists? A fellowship with a large proportion of small congregations, that’s what. (Boy in the Bands, June 16)

Witchcraft and wizardry

Patrick Murfin provides an overview of Starhawk’s life and work, including her contributions to Unitarian Universalism.

Starhawk was an early and influentially active member of the Covenant of Unitarian Universalist Pagans (CUUPS).  Her combinations contributed heavily to the adoption of the Unitarian Universalist Association’s Seventh Principle, “Respect for the Interdependent Web of All Existence of Which We Are a Part” in 1983, a move led by the faith’s growing eco-feminist movement. That inclusion has in many ways profoundly changed traditional Unitarian Universalism broadening its roots form radical Christianity and modern Humanism, influencing the way the faith act in the world, and being a major catalyst for a revival of spirituality in the liberal faith. (Heretic, Rebel, a Thing to Flout, June 17)

The Rev. Dan Harper asks three interesting questions about the Harry Potter novels. Be sure to read the comments, and share your own answers if you’d like.

Which characters did you picture as gay, lesbian, bisexual, or questioning, and why?

If Harry had to marry one of the minor characters, which one would he marry, and why?

If you could be any character or creature in the Harry Potter universe, which one would you be? (Yet Another Unitarian Universalist, June 13)