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Blog roundup, Winter 2011

Online responses to UU World.
By Heather Christensen
Winter 2011

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Many people discuss Unitarian Universalism and UU World stories on blogs. Keep up with the online conversation: Read UU World’s blog, The Interdependent Web, which highlights the best blog commentary each week.

James Hayes-Bohanan of Environ­mental Geography has visited Finca Esperanza Verde, the subject of David Zucchino’s Fall 2011 cover story, “What Ecotourism Should Be”. “Both times I have ar­rived there,” he wrote, “it has been with students who were apprehensive about a two-day stay with extremely limited electronics and only healthy food. Both times, the beauty and tranquility of the place has made them reluctant to leave!” (August 25)

For Jess, blogging at An Agnostic’s Odyssey, Jane Rzepka’s essay, “How We Break the Rules,” provided helpful resources for exploring “how an Atheist could go, or even would want to go, to church.” (August 30)

The Rev. Dr. Victoria Weinstein, however, felt that Rzepka’s article was an example of what Weinstein likes to call Unitarian Universalism’s “terminal uniqueness.” Blogging at PeaceBang, Weinstein wrote, “I would like to see us re-frame our welcome to newcomers so that they are being welcomed not into a clan that sets itself apart from the wider religious community, but [into] one that humbly and deeply knows its place in that community, is grateful for it, and seeks to help . . . individual[s] find their own ministry within it.” (September 1)

The Rev. Sean Dennison, after attending a General Assembly 2012 planning meeting, provided a thoughtful overview at ministrare of the proposed schedule: “This GA won’t be perfect. It probably won’t be like you imagine it. But it will be a very heartfelt effort to create something that helps create justice and truly partners with the people who need us in Arizona. (September 24)

A “Dear John Letter to Unitarian Universalism” posted on Wonder­twisted prompted a Facebook fire­storm as well as blogging commentary. “Wondertwisted” decided to leave Unitarian Universalism for liberal Christianity for several reasons, including “the nagging feeling that UUism lost its religious heart to political liberalism a long, long time ago.” Other reasons she listed include uncommitted members, acceptance of inappropriate behavior, “negligent worship,” and hybrid religious identities. (August 6)

The Rev. Dr. Cynthia Landrum, blogging at RevCyn, concluded that “Wondertwisted” may be “a ‘Unitarian Christian,’ but she’s not a UU Christian, and it’s great that she’s figured that out.” For Landrum, “what makes UU Christians and UU Buddhists and UU Pagans and UU Humanists all UU is that we all believe we don’t have all of the answers, and that we can learn from one another. We believe in the value of coming together in religious diversity and sharing our religious journeys.” (August 18)

For several weeks, the UU blogosphere was abuzz with reaction to the Rev. Dr. Lillian Daniel, a United Church of Christ minister, who wrote a sharp critique of people who identify as “spiritual but not religious” (Daily Devotional, August 31)

The Rev. Dr. Victoria Weinstein wrote at PeaceBang, “Clergy have an obligation not to indulge those who have no use for tradition or for religious teaching. We should not be so proud that we have welcomed those who are spiritual but not religious and have allowed or even encouraged them to remain that way.” (September 4)

For the Rev. Kathy Schmitz, Daniel’s tone undermined the values of religious community. At Growing in Place Schmitz wrote, “Snarky, derisive behavior and eye-rolling may sell better, but it does not represent our best selves and it does not represent either community or religion at its best.” (September 1)

At The Journey, blogger “Lizard Eater” wrote that we need to focus on making our congregations “deeply, soul-satisfyingly delicious. . . . [If] your church is not delicious, you should damn well either make it delicious or find another one. Because we are needed. Desperately needed.” (September 2)

UU bloggers responded to the execution of Troy Davis. John Beckett of Under the Ancient Oaks urged us to choose compassion rather than vengeance: “We have a choice: protection or vengeance. We have a choice: recognizing the humanity of all or pretending that some people aren’t human. We have a choice: ending the killing or continuing to feed our lust for blood.” (September 21)

For Anna Snoeyenbos of Deep River, it is a painful contradiction when Christians choose to support the death penalty: “It never ceases to amaze me that Christians can put so much faith into executing capital punishment, when our own God was wrongly accused, convicted and murdered by a criminal justice system.” (September 22)

The Rev. Dr. Terasa Cooley, director of Congregational Life for the UUA, wrote at terasacooley that the pendulum is swinging toward a new culture of UU leadership: “The skills that are required now are more about asking the right questions, rather than delivering the right answers.” (September 8)


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