The enemy of faith?
UUA President Peter Morales claimed, in his Fall 2013 “Hand in Hand” column, that belief is the enemy of faith, sparking a conversation in the UU blogosphere.
The Rev. Erik Martínez Resly of Rev. Erik wrote, “[The] solution must be additive, not subtractive. Instead of banning beliefs, broaden them. Get curious, and get honest: Why do you hold that belief? How have you struggled with that belief? How does that belief inform the rest of your life?” (September 16)
At The Lively Tradition, the Rev. Tom Schade made a distinction between beliefs and sects: “I think that [Resly] collapsed two different questions: one is whether we are sectarian [or] anti-sectarian and the other is whether we have a particular UU faith, or are a multi-faith spirituality. The more I thought about this, the more I saw them as a grid, which I offer for all of your exploration.” (September 17)
The “not guilty” verdict in the George Zimmerman trial prompted responses from many UUs.
At East of Midnight Kim Hampton noted that “In America, to love a black man means that one walks around with the knowledge that much of the larger society fears them because of who they are.” (July 15)
The Rev. Josh Pawelek wrote at Hartford Faith & Values: “Imagine a faith-based revolution with love at its center that offers and sustains a radically new message to America’s Black and Brown youth:You matter.” (July 18)
The Rev. Dr. Monica Cummings posted “an open letter to white people” on the Living Mosaic blog: “If you’re someone who has avoided thinking about white privilege . . . now is a great time to unstick your head from the sand. If Trayvon Martin had been white, he’d still be alive." (July 15)
Privilege & prejudice
At The Lively Tradition, the Rev. Tom Schade suggested a tax on white privilege: “I am proposing a White Privilege Public Safety Tax: a tax imposed on all white citizens and residents of the United States of America. This tax would create a fund to compensate those people of color who are mistakenly profiled by state agents and vigilantes.” (July 22)
On his blog Monkey Mind, the Rev. James Ford explored the effect growing up in the underclass had on his thinking about privilege: “The good Lord knows how hard it is for white working people, particularly those without college. But, as hard as it is, it is harder for men of color and women, whatever the color of their skin. As I look back there are many moments when I can see that hand which was reached out to me had something to do with being a white guy.” (August 23)
The Rev. Theresa Novak reacted to ageist comments in a post on her blog, Sermons, Poetry, and Other Musings: “Many churches . . . may in fact be dying, but it is not because they have old people. It is because they are resistant to change and are doing almost everything the way they did 20, 30, or even 50 years ago. . . . Young people can get stuck in ruts too. Anyone can.” (August 26)
Our deepest longings
Writing at Ministrare, the Rev. Sean Dennison described the “cabaret church” he longs to create: “I still long for a community where people support and challenge each other to break free from a culture that wants us to exhaust and anesthetize ourselves with conformity and consumerism. I’m still determined to spend my life trying to create and support spaces where people can grow and become more authentic, courageous, and kind.” (August 13)
Dennison also talked about cabaret church as a guest on The VUU, the Church of the Larger Fellowship’s video talk show. (August 29)
Jordinn Nelson Long of Raising Faith felt shamed into hiding her need for Christian ritual: “I don’t know anyone who ‘sneaks’ to yoga, thinks very carefully about whether to wear Buddha beads to UU worship, or feels like a visit to the local Zen center might somehow indicate disloyalty to their UU faith. Yet my own desire to make the Lord’s Supper part of my Sunday does feel a bit like I’m two-timing my church.” (August 12)
On Boots and Blessings, the Rev. Joanna Fontaine Crawford offered a simple way for congregations to discover their mission: “Your competition is the cheap brunch and Sunday morning shows and the hardest competitor . . . sleep. Why is your church better than sleep? What is the whole reason it exists?” (August 7)
Roy King at Mediterranean Wisdom wrestles with the formulation “God is Love.” “The nature of love is turbulent and chaotic, cyclical and unsteady. Living through love is more like tacking through a typhoon than quietly sipping a coffee onshore. But that is not necessarily bad, just psychologically realistic.” (September 5)
This article appeared in the Winter 2013 issue of UU World (pages 60–61).