Attending General Assembly
Lena Gardner, a first-time General Assembly attendee, can hardly stop weeping during a worship service.
I wept for my ancestors who didn’t make it, and for the ones who persevered, who escaped, who endured, for the ones whose land was stolen away and who watched—and fought—as genocide and torture was called nation building and progress. . . .
Meg Riley and the rest of the worship committee put together an incredible service that intricately, delicately, and powerfully weaved together the complexity of African American identity, the historical legacy of this place we have gathered with its historical legacy of slave trade and racial justice and UU theology. Somehow grounded in the love of UU theology they delivered a message of hope, endurance, perseverance, and wisdom without sugar coating the past. (Spirit, Self, and Journeying, June 26)
Katy Schmidt Karpman speaks for those of us at home, who would like cheese with our whine! (Remembering Attention, June 23)
At its best, blogging opens windows into human experience. In this unflinching post, the Rev. Alane Cameron Miles shows us her life with a neurological disorder that is stealing her ability to remember.
I have become Lucy from “50 First Dates” or the scary tattoo-covered dude from “Memento”, two of the most famous memory loss movie characters. I prefer to think I am Lucy. She at least can remember for a whole day. I can’t, but it is something to strive for. I’m realizing that Lucy isn’t played with nearly enough rage. The lack of memory isn’t as upsetting as the times when I have an inkling of everything I am forgetting. (Auspicious Jots, June 22)
Suzynn Smith Webb compares personal flaws to “known issues”—things known to be broken in a complicated web application, which the developers can’t yet fix.
Treating my flaws as known issues makes the process of self improvement a lot easier. If you know you make everything about you, it makes it a lot easier to catch yourself doing that. You’re looking for the pattern. . . .
[We’re] flawed but functional, and improvement takes ingenuity and work, but is always within reach. . . . We’re all OK, and we’re all loved. Now where will you go from there? (Loved for Who You Are, June 20)
Andrew Hidas asks how we, as privileged Americans, should respond to global inequality.
Should it shame us that so many of our brothers and sisters have it bad? Spur us to give away all that we have, as the Book of Mark urges us, to help the poor? Or live somewhere in between those poles of shame and ultimate charity, in an uneasy truce between the debilitation of shame, the glow of charity, and the satisfaction of creature comforts that are now deeply ingrained in our culture and personal history?
Can we settle into that truce with a sense of integrity, knowing the world is tilted on a strange axis indeed, accepting it as we can, making an honest (if less than total) effort at redress, while knowing that no matter what we do, life, as our parents reminded us so directly, just isn’t fair and never will be? (Traversing, June 26)
Claire points to systemic problems behind an internet hoax.
At the end of the day, there is still a little child with a disfiguring injury that would benefit from continuing care, and she lives—as do we all—in a system whose structure makes that care seem more attainable through deceit and manipulation than through honest vulnerability.
What does that say about the system? What does that say about us? (Sand Hill Diary, June 24)
The Rev. James Ford hopes humanism will focus its energy on engaging the world’s problems.
I hope as we go forward into the Twenty-first century a new humanism will emerge, one that isn’t particularly concerned with disproving a deity, but that is wildly, gloriously, engaged, bringing those most wonderful tools of reason and the scientific method into the great project of life. (Monkey Mind, June 21)
The Rev. Meredith Garmon reminds us that “We must be in touch with the world’s pain, hold it ever in awareness, never grow callous or oblivious.” (The Liberal Pulpit, June 21)
How to be alive
Like many parents before her, Christine Leigh Slocum discovers that parenting is teaching her important life lessons.
I am approaching the tasks of parenthood with the orientation that my job is to show her how to be alive. . . .
In order to show my daughter how to love life, I need to be loving life. If I want to teach her to appreciate the nature, or know how to be loving to others, I need to appreciate nature, and be loving to others. (Many Words, June 26)
The Rev. Dr. Victoria Weinstein remembers a childhood vacation with her workaholic father, and passes along advice to parents.
On behalf of the child I was who remembers how good and right and whole the world felt when I received my parents’ full, sober attention, please consider not answering that phone. Please consider a vacation with your children with no distractions, when you can have lazy days for conversations that unfold in no hurry, when a daughter can pretend to read a book while sitting by the pool, when she is actually not reading at all but only savoring the sound of her father turning pages in the deck chair next to her.
These are the only days we get. Don’t miss one. (PeaceBang, June 26)
Bringing in porch cats
After a winter of encouraging a “porch cat” to consider indoor life, the Rev. Elizabeth Curtiss sees connections between him and the religiously unaffiliated.
If a majority of potentially religious folk now consider themselves “free range,” then bringing them into covenant with us—making available to them the refuge of our faith messages in hard times—is going to be slow and tedious. It will require sustained membership mentors who themselves require ministerial and personal support. Encouragement. Tactical advice. Money for supplies. And lots of food. (Politywonk, June 20)
The Rev. Heather Rion Starr wishes we were asking bigger questions than, “How do we bring young adults back?”
We all seem to get so focused on our particular setting or context or denomination and how to keep it alive, make it thrive. Too easily it seems we lose sight of the larger purpose that got us wanting to be a part of a community in the first place–to be there for one another, to be challenged and held and transformed ourselves and to be a part of that transformative experience for others. (Quest for Meaning, June 22)
The Rev. Joanna Fontaine Crawford challenges us to identify our congregation’s implicit mission—and if it’s not what we mean to be doing, kill it. (Boots and Blessings, June 21)