Doug Muder looks at the response to hurricanes Harvey and Katrina as evidence of civilization in decline.
Rising civilizations respond to challenges with visionary bursts of construction. . . . But declining civilizations are always a step behind. They congratulate themselves for how well their plans would deal with yesterday’s problems, while ignoring the predictable challenges they soon will have to face. . . .
A civilization on the cusp of decline may still have enough constructive energy to deal with its real challenges, if it faces them. But if instead it indulges in magical thinking, and builds for a fantasy future in which those challenges simply go away, then it will miss all its opportunities to turn things around. Its wishful thinking about its own greatness will be precisely what keeps it from ever making itself great again. (The Weekly Sift, September 4)
The Rev. Deanna Vandiver comments on a racist special collection slip placed in the offering at General Assembly.
In the midst of our celebration and awe
Was the knife of hate
The entitlement born of white supremacy
Slipping through in the offering plate.
. . .
So you see, it isn’t “them.”
It isn’t them.
Each one of us. Each one of us saturated in the ideology of white supremacy, taught since birth (or immigration) that white is right and entitled to all that is fair and bright and light. (Medium, September 5)
When a biracial child is attacked by white teens, three hours from her home, the Rev. Erika Hewitt wonders how we can stop the hatred that has been unleashed.
I don’t know, Loves. I don’t know how to root myself against the lazy, thoughtless evil perpetrated on the bodies of people of color—including by children, against other children. I can’t fathom how to staunch the tide of mockery, sneering, and arrogant destruction that’s been unbottled. (Facebook, September 6)
The Rev. Dan Harper paints a picture of a future in which only the very rich will be able to enjoy the beauty of nature.
while the global elites are able buy themselves happiness by purchasing one or more vacation homes in natural settings, the general trend will be that non-white people, and lower income people will be driven into areas that provide less happiness: into cities and less attractive suburbs; into rural areas dominated by resource extraction; into low-paying jobs in digital environments cut off from the natural environment. (Yet Another Unitarian Universalist, September 5)
The Rev. Karen Gustafson admits that the impulse to claim exclusive ownership of a beautiful place lives in her, too.
That any person feels entitled unequivocally to claim and protect a share of this earth and its bounty for their own exclusive use without regard for those who are without access to the most basic resources has become the law of this land. It is tempting to assign this claim exclusively to those who are using the power of the American electoral system to protect their assets.
But in my own moments of meeting I see myself and know that it is a moral and religious challenge to stay connected to a healthy awareness that the more I have, the more I have to give, instead of the more I have the more I have to lose and protect. (Facebook, September 6)
The Rev. Karen Hering compares finding of our life’s work to the painstaking work of weaving.
It is not a one-time discovery, but the long, patient creation of the design of our lives, requiring attention and stillness and many years. The warp, spun of our gifts and our weaknesses both, provides the inner structure. We cover it slowly and beautifully over time with the many colored threads of our passions and activities—paid and unpaid—pulled through the warp until a design emerges, a beautiful pattern, a striking balance, the whole cloth of our lives. (Karen Hering, September 7)
The Rev. Jake Morrill is grateful that it is part of his life’s work to witness divine love enacted by the people around him.
So many stories, every day, too many to tell. I’m grateful for a front-row seat to what I can only understand as God’s love. And a big part of my job is to say, “Dang! Look at that!” (Facebook, September 7)
The Rev. Dan Harper considers how Universalism deals with evil and injustice.
I don’t pretend that the Universalist theology I’m outlining will appeal to everyone. God is love, but we humans have the freedom to screw things up royally. Evil is human-caused, and it’s only going to be solved by humans. The only comfort we have is that, in the end, everything will be all right (even though it will be all right for everyone, even the oppressors). And there are other possible Universalist theologies—one of the joys of being a Universalist is that we have the liberty to constantly modify our theology in conversation with others. (Yet Another Unitarian Universalist, September 2)
The Rev. Amy Shaw writes that, “God gave me a word,” and the word was Love.
Love came down on this green earth.
Love came down and turned over the tables and set the world on its end
Love made it clear that it was the Word for the poor and the broken hearted. For the queer boi and the angry girl.
Love was the Word for late night hookers and the long haul truckers, for the
heroin junkie and the runaway cutters.
Love was the Word for all of the fucked up and pushed over and too tired and I can’t take no more.
Love was the Word for the HIV patient and the man with no papers.
Love was the Word for me and for you, for the saints and the sinners and the scramblers in between.
Love came down and made a way
for there to be a way
Love said “We are never going back.” (Facebook, September 2)