Good will not win on its own
While reading a recent biography of Henry David Thoreau, the Rev. Rob Hardies meets a pair of NOAA volunteers who remind him of Thoreau.
The whale counters took a Thoreauvian delight in the natural world—the man let out an involuntary “Hyah” every time a whale spouted—and shared his zeal for detailed observation. The woman appeared to relish every hash mark she added to her tally of species: black oystercatcher, red-breasted merganser, gray whale, humpback, blue. But what struck me most about them was their faith that human beings in some distant future would care enough about cormorants and humpbacks to consult these hash marks. . . . The whale counters not only shared Thoreau’s faith in the future of life and acted on it, they did so the very week President Trump proposed cutting NOAA’s budget by 17 percent. And that’s the other way they were like Thoreau: not only were they enthusiastic and meticulous observers of nature, but they were quietly at odds with the political state. (Public Books, July 12)
Kim Hampton calls attention to a new study that “shows that starting at age five . . . black girls are viewed as less innocent and more adult than other girls.” She asks:
How can UU RE programs nurture the souls of children many see as needing less nurturing, comforting, protection, or support?
What support can UU churches give to adults who have had to live with this their entire lives?
How can UU churches educate to counter oppression? (East of Midnight, July 10)
Tina Porter has suffered from a painful bone spur in her foot, aggravated when she participated in the women’s march earlier this year.
I winced with every jerk and buckle of the train because my foot hurt so goddamn bad. . . . I was holding on to that [train] strap with every ounce of my body shrieking from a pain that emanated from the ground up.
But it was worth it, to march when we felt there was nothing else we could do in that moment. And now, finally, all these months later, I’m getting my foot looked at (again) while that man travels abroad, embarrassing me, my country, and enraging the world with his dreams of a resurgence of the 1950s policies without the tax rates that fueled that economic stability and dog whistling a brand of white nationalism that is so regressive and hateful that it has ripped apart the dream we thought we had of America. . . .
I hobble nobly to the car, back straight and hopes realigned with the truth that good will not win on its own, as this foot will not heal on its own. (Ugly Pies, July 13)
The road through Humansville
The Rev. Amy Shaw reflects on the biblical question, “Who am I to judge someone else’s servant?”
I think about how many times I've given unasked for advice, corrected someone trying to speak to me, because they were doing it wrong.
They weren't politically correct enough. They weren't up to date enough. They were using the wrong terms at the wrong time and I needed, NEEDED, to help them to be the best they could be because their mistakes were wounding me.
Their ignorance was wounding me...
And so I corrected them gently.
Maybe more harshly, if I'd had to tell them time and time again. Maybe angrily, even, if I could not believe that they didn't know better.
And they would thank me. And the conversation would end.
Because I was no longer a partner, a harbor, a minister, but only an accuser.
Only one more voice telling them they were doing life wrong. (Facebook, July 8)
The Rev. Kent Hemmen Saleska’s sermon about this year’s General Assembly includes an account of his motorcycle trip from Minnesota to New Orleans.
[On] my way, I discovered an amazing little road, off the side of a side road in the middle of Missouri. I was headed down this main highway when suddenly I saw a road I just had to take, no matter where it was going to lead. It was, of course, Highway UU.
So I turned off the main road and began to follow Highway UU, but what do you think happened barely a mile or two later? Of course, even given what you’ve heard this morning, that road turned to gravel and dirt. And that road crossed a few streams on bridges without any railings.
But here’s the thing. You want to know where that road ultimately took me? Well, ultimately it took me to New Orleans, but in that moment . . . and you may not believe this but I’ll be happy to show you on a map after the service . . . but that road dumped me out into the little town of Humansville, population 1,048. (Tensile Strands, July 2)
Chris Crass has been encountering men of all ages who are working to challenge patriarchy and white supremacy—and yet more are needed.
Thinking about the profound need for more and more of us who are white men to struggle against toxic masculinity and white supremacy and work like our lives depend on it to get free from these supremacy systems, to work for feminism and anti-racism in our lives, families, communities and in the world. To do this work knowing that in fact our lives, our humanity, our ability to show up with love, does depend on it. (Facebook, July 11)
I placed the flowers in a nook in the front of building. . . . As I walked away I wondered why I had done this thing. It was not my typical behavior. I didn’t do it for myself, and I knew it would make little difference to the victims. I had no expectation that the flowers would be there more than 10 minutes after I left. But I understood I was the only person in that place and at that time who could make that gesture, who could bear witness. (Morning Stars Rising, July 11)