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Mailbox, Summer 2007

Thoughts on eating, gratitude, and UUA purposes.
By Jane Greer
Summer 2007 5.15.07

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Amy Hassinger’s feature article “Ethical Eating” drew twenty-two letters out of a total of fifty-eight, an unusually large percentage. Galen Guengerich’s essay on gratitude, “The Heart of Our Faith,” garnered eight, and “Help for Anxious Parents,” three.

From the passion of the letters about Hassinger’s story, it seems that everyone has an opinion about food. And what is acceptable to one may be anathema to another. Rich Patterson of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, lives close to the land and acquires meat by hunting deer. “My family has switched from mass produced meats that come at high environmental cost to local deer meat produced at no environmental cost,” he wrote.

Tess Loewen of Athens, Georgia, on the other hand, who has been a vegetarian for thirty-five years, decries all animal suffering, quoting Mahatma Gandhi: “The most violent weapon on earth is the table fork,” she wrote.

Galen Guengerich’s essay on gratitude inspired some readers to reflect with gratitude on their own lives: “Gratitude has been at the heart of my life,” wrote Alfonso Varon of Plainfield, New Jersey, “being able to immigrate to the U.S., being happily married for fifty-four years, being the father of three wonderful children, being in relatively good health at 79, being a UU, and much more.”

In addition, we received four letters on UUA President William G. Sinkford’s “Our Calling” column on revisioning the UUA’s Purposes. Bill Puka of Lexington, Massachusetts, suggests that the Principles are memorable because they “point the path to admirable, even noble living as a person” while the Purposes “concern mere organizational management.”

We also registered a complaint from the Rev. Shirley Ranck of North Shore Unitarian Church in West Vancouver, British Columbia, charging that the Reflections piece “Great Art and the Gods” was sexist. “What about great art and goddesses?” she wrote. “And don’t try to say that the word ‘god’ is neutral. It is still overwhelmingly assumed to be male.”

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