Blog roundup: Resilient hope, not brittle optimism

Blog roundup: Resilient hope, not brittle optimism

Highlights from the Unitarian Universalist conversation online, April through June 2019.


A grace economy

The Rev. Aaron White found an Easter metaphor in his garden: “This whole thing is a grace economy. . . . The failures of last year feed this year. . . . The rain falls (or doesn’t); the sun shines (or doesn’t)—and none of it depends on how righteous the gardener has been.” (Possibility Conspiracy, April 18)

The Rev. Robin Bartlett described anxiety within the UUA: “[W]hen institutions feel fragile, our response is to anxiously write rules, draw lines in the sand, and close ranks. But God doesn’t. God erases the lines we draw. God loves the people we don’t.” (Facebook, May 2)

The Rev. Jake Morrill wrote that early Christian sects often turned on their intimate enemies rather than banding together to throw off their oppressors: “[I]n the shadow of Rome, we turn on each other. . . . it’s not good for ourselves, or each other, or what we hope for our children. But it is good for someone. And that’s Pontius Pilate. Rome likes when we fight.” (Facebook, June 15)

As UUs attending General Assembly wrestled with its theme, “The Power of We,” the Rev. Rodney Lemery suggested that “Much like the Spokane Falls, the raging waters of the ‘We’ has the potential to change us every second of our lives. The water of deep relationships hits the jagged rocks of social location and privilege and begins to alter them, smoothing them over; making it easier to share space, power and Love without threatening erasure of the other. In order for this to happen, we must enter the raging waters of deep relationship with one another and risk being smoothed by the waters of ‘We.’” (Church of the Larger Fellowship, June 27)

The right to say no

Tina Porter wrote about an unwanted pregnancy: “I tip-toed into the upstairs bathroom during nap-time and I peed on the stick and waited. . . . When it turned up the results I knew were coming, all the stamina I had been showing . . . flew out of me like a startled finch and I sat on that linoleum tile, too saturated with emotion to move.” (Tina LB Porter, May 19)

The Rev. Christina Leone Tracy’s personal story highlighted the reality that pregnancy is dangerous for some women: “When I was born, I had a very very rare set of very serious medical complications. . . . I decided it was unsafe to carry a pregnancy. . . . pregnancy isn’t always safe for even healthy bodies, and mine’s not. . . . I live in fear of pregnancy.” (Facebook, May 18)

Liz James contrasted the agency given to organ, blood, and plasma donors with that given to pregnant women: “[Donors] can say no for any reason and at any point in the process . . . no matter how human or good or kind the person who will die as a result of your decision might be. So strong is your right to say no that we will not use your body to save the lives of multiple deserving people EVEN AFTER YOU ARE DEAD unless you specify otherwise. . . . [T]he decision rests with the donor, because it’s their damn body.” (Facebook, May 25)

The need for hope

The Rev. Leslie Ahuvah Fails warned us not to be immobilized by climate change “disaster porn”: “Be informed, yes, and act on what you learn. But please do not boil yourself alive in worry.” (Facebook, June 6)

The Rev. Dawn Skjei Cooley urged others to join her in bending the moral arc: “There are so many atrocities happening right now that it is overwhelming. . . . You don’t have to do everything, but if you are a person of moral conscience, we need you to do something. Put your hands on the moral arc and push in whatever way you can.” (Facebook, May 15)

Doug Muder wrote that in these uncertain times we need hope, not optimism: “[A]n optimistic person plants a garden because the rains will come and the plants will grow and the harvest will be bountiful. But a hopeful person plants without knowing what will happen, because the possibility of a harvest is worth creating.” (The Weekly Sift, June 10)

The Rev. Misha Sanders offered advice for those days when everything seems too hard: “Even on those days, do one thing that moves you toward your goal, if you can. Even if it is just lying down and envisioning it for one second before you take a long nap, it counts. And some days you will be able to do a little more, and it will all count.” (Facebook, June 12)

Many UUs participate online in lively discussion of a wide variety of topics. Keep up with the conversation: Read UU World’s Editors’ Blog, where you’ll find links to each week’s best commentary.