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Blog roundup, Summer 2014

Online responses to UU World.
By Heather Christensen
Summer 2014

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Many Unitarian Universalists participate in lively online discussion of a wide variety of topics. Keep up with the conversation: Read UU World’s blog at The Interdependent Web, which highlights the best blog commentary each week along with other user-generated content.


Testimony of reality

The UU Church of Ogden, Utah, received a rave review from visiting blogger Chad of 52 Weeks, 52 Faiths: “The love and sense of community you feel in it is almost tangible.” (February 16)

The Rev. Sarah Stewart of Stereoscope challenged us to recognize how high the stakes are: “[It] wouldn’t hurt us . . . to imagine we are charting [our] paths in the face of existential threat, as though our lives and our salvation depended on making the right choices.” (February 6)

John Halstead, The Allergic Pagan, explained why he hasn’t joined the UU congregation he attends: “[It] does not seem like enough to want to be a part of the local religious community; I feel like I need to believe in the mission of the UU. And I just don’t.” (March 25)

The Rev. Tom Schade of The Lively Tradition suggested a cure for UU self-doubt: “We have to tell people what we know; our testimony of reality: that the path to health and healing and planetary salvation is each of us living with reverence and awe, honesty, humility, gratitude and generosity, openness, solidarity and self-possession, in communities of justice and faith. We will not convince the world until we convince ourselves.” (March 28)


Logogate

Online debate about the UUA’s new logo served as an inkblot test for other issues; as the Rev. Tom Schade wrote: “Behold the New Logo! You Read It—It Reads You.” (February 13)

Writing at Speaking of, the Rev. Dawn Cooley suggested that reactive responses happened because “the anxiety in our UU system is quite high right now. Just as surprised people who feel left out of the process tend to react poorly, so also is the inverse true: Informed people who are brought along in the process tend to be more invested in the outcome.” ( February 15)

The Rev. Dr. Victoria Weinstein (aka PeaceBang) offered words of reassurance: “Creating a logo is just a way of waving your hand . . . to greet the general public. . . . The logo gives people an opportunity to connect with you. It doesn’t represent your community’s capitulation to consumer culture.” (February 18)

The Rev. Dr. Cynthia Landrum of Rev. Cyn expressed her hope that the UUA’s new branding efforts will help congregations respond to rapid changes in church and ministry: “There are concrete things that the UUA could do. . . . Conquer these, and you’ll free us up to do that reaching out to our larger community and to the ‘nones.’ Thank you again for your vision. I look forward to having the tools to address it.” (February 13)


Our brother UU, Pete Seeger

The Rev. Dr. Cynthia Landrum challenged assumptions about Pete Seeger’s place in contemporary Unitarian Universalism: “What I think we should be careful of . . . is assuming that everybody likes Pete Seeger, that everybody knows who he was and why he’s important to us politically and culturally, and that everybody is mourning his death.” (January 30)

The Rev. Amy Zucker Morgenstern of Sermons in Stones provided an opposing view: “We UUs clearly aren’t ready to move beyond our brother UU, Pete Seeger. On the contrary, we’d better run if we’re ever going to catch up with him.” (March 7)


Not a monster

As a Christian UU, and as a gay man, the Rev. Scott Wells of Boy in the Bands wrote about the death of the Rev. Fred Phelps: “He set himself up consciously to be my enemy, and perhaps yours. But Jesus taught us to love our enemies and pray for our persecutors. This reminds us, and is our testimony before God, that we regard Fred Phelps as human and not a monster.” (March 20)

Writing at Quest for Meaning, the Rev. Lynn Ungar pointed out: “If . . . you believe that God hates and punishes . . . you have chosen to play on Phelps’s team. Or you could go with the team which says that love is without limits, that every one of us is a part of the sacred, that every one of us has worth and dignity, that each of us is tied to the other in an infinite web of love and connection.” (March 19)


And more...

The Rev. Meg Riley, also writing at Quest for Meaning, felt “wild grief” while staying in the UUA’s recently-sold Boston guesthouse: “I knew that I was grieving the loss of this home away from home, but it wasn’t until I began to see the ubiquitous presence of the people who are purchasing it, measuring and discussing future plans, that irrational grief began to burn in me.” (March 20)

The Rev. Tandi Rogers of Growing Unitarian Universalism welcomed the anonymously produced new satirical rag, The Beacon: “I’ve found the inaugural edition to be open-spirited, spiritually mature, and nuanced.” (March 3)


This article appeared in the Summer 2014 issue of UU World (pages 67–68). See sidebar for links to related resources.

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