Recent UU World articles drew more attention than usual. Scotty McLennan’s religious rationale for abortion, “Breath Is Life” (Winter 2009), drew a number of responses. At “BlueNC,” a community website that promotes progressive values and policies in North Carolina, James said, “It’s a fascinating read in terms of abortion rights, but it is also a cautionary tale about the enormous dangers of religious influence in public policy.” (November 19) Karen at “Echoes of the Moon” loved “that my faith is home to so many views and that the Rev. McLennan is free to explain his position and support it with biblical evidence—and few, if any, within Unitarian Universalism will call him a bad Christian, a bad minister, or a bad man.” (January 6) But Christine Robinson at “iMinister,” wrote that McLennan “doesn’t get it”: “It doesn’t matter whether the fetus is a bit of tissue or a full person. It doesn’t have a right to use my body unless I want it there or consent to be its hero and provide my body for its use.” (November 16)
Many bloggers took exception to a line in UUA President Peter Morales’s Winter column—“Hanging out is not a spiritual practice”—criticizing many youth activities. “Chalicechick” pointed to another comment in Morales’s essay that “sounds suspiciously like hanging out is spiritual as all get out when you do it with the elders of the church.” (November 22) Kelly Kilmer Hall says “hanging out can be a lot of different things” and, “in all my work with youth, both in human services and at church, those times where there is no agenda is when the best work happens.” (“Seeking Divinity,” November 23)
Cynthia Landrum’s essay “If There Is a God . . .” resonated with Nile Tallman: “[T]here needs to be much more positive communication between the non-deists and those who have an unshakable belief in a god.” (“The World Is Afire,” November 18)
“ChaliceChick” wondered why uuworld.org reported on the new UU holiday Chalica (December 7; see page 42 of this issue) “since it sounds like almost no UUs are celebrating it.” (December 7) The comments include interesting perspectives on whether celebrating Advent and Christmas are historically appropriate to Unitarian Universalism’s New England Puritan roots.
“Science & Religion Today” drew attention to Scott Gerard Prinster’s Fall 2009 “Bookshelf” essay about Joseph Priestley. (October 13) A post on the website of the UU Church of Arlington, Va., (distinctive for being built on the Ning social-networking platform) mentioned that 39 UUs from area churches met to discuss Mike Durall’s Fall essay, “Reach Out to Become a Public Church.” (December 9) And, in a demonstration of the long tail of the Internet, Sara at “The Curriculum of Love” commented on Neil Chethik’s 2003 article about religious education, “What Should We Do with the Boys?” (November 16)
Bloggers took on many topics unrelated to the magazine, including ministerial credentialing (see “iMinister” especially) and congregational growth (see “The UU Growth Blog”). Garrison Keillor’s December 15 column for Salon, syndicated in many newspapers, condemned UU revisions of Christmas carols: “Christmas is a Christian holiday—if you’re not in the club, then buzz off,” he wrote, provoking dozens of UU responses, including Fred Small’s essay for uuworld.org, “Merry Christmas, Garrison Keillor!”; see “The Interdependent Web” for December 18 and January 8 for links.