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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.

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)

Preach the rage, a Confederate Party, and more UU blogging

Preach it

It has been a week full of bad news, and the Rev. Dr. Victoria Weinstein exhorts her clergy readers to “preach the front pages” this Sunday.

Preach the news. Preach the fire. Preach the rage, the sadness, the lamentation. Preach it fierce. Bring your rage, your solidarity, your authority to confront: to confront ourselves, to confront our God, to confront yourself, to confront our sick, sick society. Confront what is really happening. (Beauty Tips for Ministers, August 14)

Patrick Murfin says that when the news beats us up, it is “time to step up, not away.”

Hiding from it will not save you. It will make you, however unwittingly, an accomplice.

None of us have the power to stop these things. All of us have the power to move the world, if only a little, along that long promised arc that bends towards justice. We are called to crawl out from under the covers and unleash our love—muscular love—applied with plenty of elbow grease. Not platitudes but action. (Heretic, Rebel, a Thing to Flout, August 15)

Ferguson, and wherever you are

The killing of teenager Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., and subsequent events drew the attention of many UU bloggers this week.

The Rev. Meg Riley is “struggling to discern how to be part of the solution instead of part of the problem.”

Where do you locate yourself in these stories? Who do you see as dangerous, and who is trustworthy? Where do you locate safety? What would safety look like for the people of Ferguson now, for instance? As a white person in the U.S., I am conditioned from birth to see whiteness as safety—white neighborhoods, white people, white authority figures. My lived experience, my conversations with people of color, and my study of history have shown me over and over that this is a wild and cruel perversion of the truth. (HuffPost Religion, August 14)

The Rev. Jake Morrill says, “it’s not just Ferguson.

As protests in Ferguson, Missouri, go on tonight, a lot of my white brothers and sisters are focused on how, in the short-term, to restore order. But the real question is how, in the long-term, to restore justice. (Quest for Meaning, August 13)

The Rev. David Breeden responds in verse.

The measured response of empire
is death—war against war;
attack against attack; violence
to violence. Murder. Revenge.
Death. The measured response of

empire is insanity. The peace of
empire is reloading the gun. It
is the realm of hungry ghosts,
shiny new helmets in the void. (Theopoetics, August 15)

Christine Slocum is uncomfortable with the way African American spirituals are often sung in UU churches.

How dare white people sing African-American spirituals while our police forces shoot black teenagers.
How dare white people sing African-American spirituals when African-Americans are killed on the presumption of criminality by citizens?
How dare white people sing African-American spirituals when African-American men are sent disproportionately to prison on drug charges, despite similar rates of drug use?
I could go on. My point is that the oppression of African Americans has never ended, and yet white people sing the songs. (This Too Will Pass, August 10)

Kim Hampton asks, “How the hell did y’all get this blind?

Did y’all think that Trayvon Martin was a one off? Did you not see the story about Jordan Davis? Renisha McBride? (East of Midnight, August 14)

The Rev. Theresa Novak laments,

Oh waste of loss
America we’ve failed
Storm clouds gather
Justice must rain down
Tears are not enough. (Sermons, Poetry, and Other Musings, August 14)

Depression and suicide

Anyone who is suicidal may receive immediate help by logging onto Suicide.org or by calling 1-800-SUICIDE. Suicide is preventable, and if you are feeling suicidal, you must get help.

Kimberley Debus responds to the deaths from suicide of the Rev. Jennifer Slade and Robin Williams from personal experience, having “lived that moment, when a decision is made.”

You may not know what to say exactly. But say something. And genuinely listen. (Notes from the Far Fringe, August 13)

Kari Kopnick cautions against the phrase “committed suicide.”

People die by suicide. It is a horrible tragedy. But lets not make it worse by saying that our beloved brother or sister committed something. Language matters, what we say makes a difference and the words we choose change the meaning of what we say. (Chalicespark, August 12)

The Rev. Meg Riley acknowledges that sometimes love is not enough.

As I have witnessed the conversations taking place in the wake of his suicide—about depression, about grief, about being bipolar and about loving people who have depression or are bipolar, what I have realized is this: We are all grappling with the edges of the power of love. We loved him, and yet he committed suicide. Our love—the real love of millions of people—did not save him. If so much love couldn’t save him, where is the hope for the rest of us poor schlubs? (HuffPost Religion, August 13)

The Rev. Tony Lorenzen puzzles about how personally he has taken Williams’s death.

It’s the depression, both his and mine, that makes his passing a powerful loss. . . . Robin Williams evokes this pain about the battle with depression, not because he’s the first or most well known to die from it, but because he was one I grew up with and he played roles that deeply affected me. (Sunflower Chalice, August 12)

Politics and culture

Doug Muder asserts, “Not a Tea Party, a Confederate Party.”

Here’s what my teachers should have told me: “Reconstruction was the second phase of the Civil War. It lasted until 1877, when the Confederates won.” I think that would have gotten my attention.

It wasn’t just that Confederates wanted to continue the war. They did continue it, and they ultimately prevailed. They weren’t crazy, they were just stubborn. (The Weekly Sift, August 11)

The Rev. Tom Schade says, “We should be re-thinking all of our big thoughts about the state of our political order.”

The police killing of Michael Brown, and the police repression of the community that has demanded accountability, should push people like us (who are more unfamiliar and misinformed about the conditions of life of African Americans than we think we are) into an extended campaign of learning, re-thinking, and teaching.

Learning, Re-Thinking, and Teaching are political acts of great significance and power. (The Lively Tradition, August 14)