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Interdependent Web edited by Heather Christensen; a weekly roundup of blogs about Unitarian Universalism

A weekly roundup of blogs and other user-generated web content about Unitarian Universalism, collected by uuworld.org. Find more UU blogs at UUpdates. Contact us at interdependentweb@uua.org.

Who are my people? and more UU commentary

Who are my people?

Kenny Wiley, who is both UU and black, wonders if his UU community cares more about remembering Selma than engaging in Ferguson.

Unitarian Universalists, you are my people. And UUs, my ‘other’ people—of which some of you are—need you. We need you to show up. We need you to listen and go beyond platitudes. Not everyone can travel hundreds of miles, but we can all do something—something beyond what we thought we could do. Oct. 22 is National Day Against Police Brutality, and several cities are hosting events.

The next call to action for racial justice has arrived. My people: Will we answer?

My people want to know. (A Full Day, October 15)

The Rev. Tom Schade explores the reasons why there has been no national UU call to Ferguson, and proposes more grassroots, local-driven engagement.

The tragedy is that each of those 59 congregations within 250 miles of Ferguson had some people who wanted to go Ferguson, but didn’t hear the invitation, or feel encouraged by their local congregational leaders and minister. And even more tragic, in each of those 59 communities and cities, there were many more people who wanted to go to Ferguson, but were not connected with anyone, any group, who could help them make that happen.

We need to get to the next stage. We don’t need to count how many UU’s turn out for events like Ferguson, or Raleigh, or New York, or Arizona. We need to start to count how many non-UU’s we bring with us. (The Lively Tradition, October 15)

The St. Louis-area UU congregations are organizing their responses through the St. Louis Standing on the Side of Love Facebook page.

Faithful relationships

In a widely-shared post, the Rev. Dr. Victoria Weinstein responds to the news that the new president of Andover Newton Theological School admitted to a four-year affair.

I am first and foremost personally concerned about covenantal relationships –marriage being the most important one in this situation. It concerns me that my alma mater’s president should have violated the covenant of marriage for a long period of time, and that he and the board of trustees ask our forgiveness for that violation. (PeaceBang, October 4; published in modified form at The Narthex, October 6; quoted in the Boston Globe, October 12)

Liz James writes a searingly honest post about her own struggles with marital fidelity, and concludes that relationships need better tools and supports.

If we care about these stories, if we truly see pain and harm caused by this pattern, and we want to prevent it, we will not frame this conversation solely in terms of what this guy did wrong (not that there isn’t a place for this conversation, but that place sure isn’t my blog). We will ask what better support and context we can provide people as a community to support them in building relationships that are loving, sustainable, honest, and rewarding. We will talk real stories and real life.

Because this matters WAY too much to waste time getting judgemental when we could be getting creative and wise. (Rebel With a Label Maker, October 16)

The stories of our lives

Recovering from a migraine, the Rev. Cynthia Cain boards an airplane, and her seatmate’s drunkenness triggers memories of family dysfunction; after her first feelings of anger, she finds her way to compassion.

I looked at Mr. Reeking of Alcohol, and his one eye was completely bloodshot, and I felt so much sadness and compassion for him. I knew that like some people very close to me he was trapped in a place he could not get out of and didn’t need my scorn and anger.

So when he suggested I relax, instead of launching into aforementioned rant, I smiled at him.

“I’m trying, bro.” I said. (A Jersey Girl in Kentucky, October 14)

Karen Johnston urges a mourner to “forget pious blessing chatter.”

Forget pious blessing chatter.
The nice-nice that assures polite company
the world still spins properly.

It doesn’t.
It’s off kilter.
Your son is gone.
All is not right
in the world. (irrevspeckay, October 15)

The problem of oversimplification

The Rev. Dr. Cynthia Landrum pushes back against oversimplification in how schools react to students’ infractions.

We need to, as a society, rethink “zero tolerance” and “three strikes” laws. We need to rethink them when it comes to our prisons, but we also need to rethink them when it comes to our schools, and we need to stop treating children like criminals. We need to give the schools the ability to look at the situation and look at the individual child, to think about what’s best for the school and what’s best for the child.

In liberal religion, we often talk about how much we value education. It’s time for us to recognize that this is a major way in which some children are not getting the same access to education that others are, and work to make a change. (The Lively Tradition, October 14)

Doug Muder writes that the real problem with Sam Harris and Bill Maher, and their comments about Islam, is “Orientalism,” fencing off a group of people, and then presuming to be an expert about their lives.

The reason to pause before you criticize Islam or religion isn’t that these topics are or should be surrounded by some special aura of protection. It’s that there’s really no such thing as Islam or religion, at least not in the sense that most critics would like to assume. (The Weekly Sift, October 13)

Off the beaten path

Sorry, everyone, Heather Christensen isn’t back yet. Instead you have a highly irreverent sample of social media we don’t usually cover!

Institutional blogging, youth voices, social justice

The Interdependent Web does not usually cover “institutional” blogs and social media, but this week we will highlight recent posts in several official UUA communications streams.

Youth voices

Kara Marler says lots of adults think she has “potential.”

Potential are the forces you have yet to believe in

We are not potential

We are a force that someone believes in (Blue Boat of Youth and Young Adult Ministries, September 24)

Kara Rocks the Pulpit from UUAYaYA on Vimeo.

Social justice

Gail Forsyth-Vail says teaching about Ferguson is not “optional” for white people.

What if talking about race was akin to talking about sexuality? Difficult, yes, but integral to good parenting? What if white people wanted their kids to be not just sexually healthy, but also racially healthy, able to meet, engage, and negotiate complex conversations, relationships, and situations by drawing on a well-formed racial identity based on good information, liberal religious values, and a strong sense of justice? What if white parents believed it was just as important for children to speak for racial justice as it is for them to believe in and speak for the integrity of their own body and sexuality? (Call and Response: Journeys in UU Lifespan Faith Development, September 30)

Standing on the Side of Love is committed to getting out the vote and shares a guest post from Sister Simone Campbell and the “Nuns on the Bus.”

Our shiny new bus is emblazoned with the words “We the People, We the Voters” because our trip is focused on how we, the community of voters, have the power to come together and make things right. It’s all about democracy. (Standing on the Side of Love, September 29)

The UU-UNO Office brought together a variety of voices to reflect on the People’s Climate March.

We all saw the humanity in one another, we were connected spiritually and emotionally, and we moved as one strong body. The UU-UNO participated in the march held in New York City and thanks to screens set-up throughout the march we were able to see marches in other countries. Many international participants in the NYC march wore the flag of their country proudly. Humans working in solidarity around the world as global citizens and participants of this movement. —Kamila Jacob, Envoy Coordinator (UUA International, September 26)

The Church of the Larger Fellowship’s weekly talk show, The VUU, has UU World contributing editor Doug Muder as a guest this week, talking about the Tea Party and the “Confederate Party.”

Timely publications

Beacon Press author Susan Katz Miller has advice for interfaith families during the Jewish High Holy Days.

1. Pick one. Even if you are going to practice only, or primarily, one religion in the home, your family will benefit from finding a progressive house of worship that welcomes you as an interfaith family. Many churches welcome interfaith families, though few have programs specifically for us. (Beacon Broadside, October 3)

Beacon Press also has an active Twitter account, and announces monthly “UU Reads,” such as October’s An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States.

Skinner House Books uses Tumblr to assemble UU-related and book-related posts, such as this graphic from the UU Media Collective (which WordPress doesn’t reduce at all nicely; do click through to see the full-size version!).

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Growing Unitarian Universalism

Tandi Rogers bids farewell to InterConnections and thanks our colleague Don Skinner.

One of the themes of InterConnections has been the power of one person to change a congregation. For good or ill. One person can plant an idea and then gather support for it. One person can encourage someone else. (Growing Unitarian Universalism, September 16)

Mark Bernstein thinks leaders should “go with the flow.”

The more leaders see their tasks as interesting, enjoyable, and meaningful, the harder and longer they work on the task and the better they will perform at it. (Growing Vital Leaders: Ideas, Tips and Tools on Leadership Formation, September 26)