The Rev. Dr. Kate Walker, minister of the Mt. Vernon Unitarian Church in Arlington, Virginia, lives in the neighborhood where this week’s shooting happened, and frequents the YMCA that served as the shooter’s home base.
I’ve been struggling what to write today, finding myself wanting to go to cover. My heart is with those shot this morning in my neighborhood. I was running late as I headed to the YMCA where I work out most mornings, and missed the shooting by a few minutes. I was on my bike and a woman with her dog stopped me about a block away to say “don’t go over there, there’s a gunman, I saw him.” She clearly had a lot of adrenaline rushing through her body. Apparently I’ve seen him too, hanging out in the lobby of the Y for several weeks. I keep thinking about the staff and regulars who were on time this morning. Bullets crashed through the windows where we all chat and sweat together. (Facebook, June 14)
The Rev. Robin Bartlett expresses the weariness most of us feel about yet another shooting.
Every Father’s Day weekend I have to preach on a mass shooting motivated by rancorous political rhetoric and the accompanying dehumanization of groups of human beings amid a culture saturated with guns and gun worship. A sick and macabre tradition. (Facebook, June 14)
Equal in the eyes of God
Everett Howe objects to the proposed alteration of the UUA’s first principle because it introduces “a sliding scale of worth and dignity.”
The proponents of the change themselves admit that it requires adopting some kind of sliding scale of worth and dignity. . . . Unless you are prepared to let termites eat your house … unless you are prepared to forego antibiotics for yourself and for your loved ones; unless you are prepared to let your pets live with parasites in their bodies … unless you are willing to do these things, accepting this new proposed principle requires that you also accept that some beings have more worth and dignity than others. . . .
Once you start saying that maybe some beings are less worthy than others, it becomes too easy to lose sight of the humanity of the accused terrorist, or the convicted criminal, or the person you hate. Or even of yourself, when you fall short of your own ideals. (Humanist Seminarian, June 10)
Doug Muder reviews Ryan Avent’s book, The Wealth of Humans, focusing on the inequality of social capital. (The Weekly Sift, June 14)
The Rev. Erika Hewitt, members of her congregation, and members of a neighboring UCC congregation encounter a very angry person at their regular anti-racism vigil.
As soon as he opened his mouth, I understood that his bigoted arrogance would be disguised as polite questions. What is racism? he asked—and interrupted to challenge us. What is privilege?, he asked—and interrupted again, to tell us that we were “brainwashed.”
. . . . On our way back to the church parking lot, one of my parishioners said, “The thing is, there are people who drove past us today who believe exactly what he was saying.”
As Leslie Mac reminds us: White people, our silence is violence. (Facebook, June 13)
The Rev. Elizabeth Stevens shares a letter she wrote to her local hospital, supporting a physician’s decision to begin offering gender reassignment surgery.
I am writing in support of Dr. Geoff Stiller and his decision to get trained in gender reassignment surgery, though, to be honest, I am a little puzzled as to why you are inviting public comment. It seems to me that the decision to have any surgery is between the patient and their doctor, and that any treatment available locally would benefit both the hospital and any patients needing that procedure. . . .
As a pastor, there is a question I use to guide my decision making. I ask myself, ‘What is the most loving and compassionate thing to do in this situation?’ When it comes to this surgery, the answer is clear. (revehstevens, June 12)
The Rev. Theresa Soto discusses the ways in which her experience is not included in Brene Brown’s understanding of shame.
Brown doesn’t factor in the way in which ableism permeates our American society. . . . The fact that I believe myself worthy of love and belonging doesn’t actually provide me access to it. . . .
I am vulnerable in ways that the research doesn’t factor in. If you push me, I will fall over. If people in my community don’t assess me as worthy of love and belonging, which they bring to life with access, I am likely to not be included and to simply end up staring up the steps. (Facebook, June 13)
Kat Liu comments on people of privilege appropriating the concept of “tone policing.”
Some people of privilege seem to think that if they speak on behalf of marginalized peoples then that gives them free license to speak however they want without concern for whom they hurt or how disruptive they are. I’m sorry but to me that is just another way for you to not have to monitor yourselves and to take up space. (Facebook, June 15)
Laws of the land
In fits and starts, Liz James learns lessons from the land by taking up gardening.
Years ago, I heard an Indigenous woman talking about laws. She said that for her, the most important spiritual laws and lessons are not found in books. They are in the land, and if you sit on the land and pay attention for long enough, you will see them.
I PAID attention—although not, admittedly, for very long at any one stretch—and I couldn’t see what she meant. I like to think in words, and the land is not that articulate. And it doesn’t make jokes.
I would prefer, I decided, if someone else could sit on the land and hear the lessons and then write them down in blog form and I would read them and that would be better.
And then this year, I started to garden. (Facebook, June 14)