Highlights from the Unitarian Universalist conversation online, July through September 2019.
Scott Wells wrote a love letter to the laity: “[You] can have a church without a minister . . . but you can’t have a church without the laity. . . . The work of the church is in the hands of the laity, often literally. . . . So, if tempted, don’t ever apologize for being a member of the laity.” (Rev. Scott Wells, July 6)
Nathan Ryan paid tribute to the late civil rights activist Sadie Roberts-Joseph: “Her very existence is a model for all of us. She was warm, inviting, generous, and loving. But her kindness never allowed false narratives or racist status quo ideologies to persist unchallenged. I cannot state it simply enough: her life made the world better.” (Facebook, July 13)
Dan Harper gave words to what many feel about the state of our country: “I continue to be a deeply patriotic American, but we are growing less civilized and less humane, and we are departing wildly from our proclaimed traditions. As a loyal American, I grow heartsick.” (Yet Another Unitarian Universalist, July 3)
Joanna Fontaine Crawford lamented our society’s divisiveness: “The shibboleths that define whether we are conservative or liberal are everything from the chicken we eat to the hardware chain where we shop. If we allow it, our world can become so small that growth is nearly impossible. Individual growth requires room to stretch, new ideas to mull over, and the understanding that others can have different experiences that have led them to come to different conclusions than we have.” (Statesman, July 23)
Jim Foti contended that all hope is not yet lost: “[T]he threads of hope are fragile. . . . So please use your time wisely. Don’t waste it arguing politics on Facebook or over Thanksgiving dinner with people who will never change. Make it normal among your friends to talk about what kinds of actual actions you’re taking to bring about change (versus just venting) to help save the country. There is no better use of your time.” (Jim Foti, August 4)
Gretchen Haley suggested that thirst is the starting point in our work for justice and healing: “thirst is what is possible / when we tend to the wanting / of all the world, the generations, the stars / starting with / your one, dry mouth / and the reaching for the glass, / the pouring, and the filling / the lifting to your tongue, and the / drinking in until you are / drenched in / life.” (Another Possibility, August 23)
Jordinn Nelson Long described the challenges of living with faith amid finitude: “Helplessness, as terrible as it sounds, would actually be easy. Accepting, on the other hand, that our work (our voice, our risky loving, our shoulder at the wheel alongside so many others) does indeed matter, and that the outcome still is not and will probably never be up to us alone, is relentlessly challenging. It is the spiritual work of an urgent and ever-present public theology.” (Facebook, September 4)
Sierra-Marie Gerfao pointed out that accommodations required by law are often dodged in UU settings: “When we, as a religious body, decide to provide fewer civil rights protections than what would be required if we were subject to the law to which other employers are subject . . . we really ought to question our basis for claiming any moral authority at all.” (Facebook, July 22)
Kat Liu explained what the Dhammapada means when it says that all things are mind wrought: “Believing in your mind that you can defy gravity and fly is not going to cause you to be able to fly. But understanding that the unforgivable offense that someone else committed against you is only an unforgivable offense because you perceive it that way can help you let go of the anger.” (Facebook, July 31)
Jake Morrill shared this about post-traumatic growth: [Humans] show incredible resilience, becoming wiser, kinder, more grateful, etc., as a result of post-traumatic growth. . . . Not a return to normalcy, but an incorporation of what has happened. Not a shattered vase glued together to make a fragile, reconstructed vase, but a shattered vase now reconfigured to make a beautiful mosaic. (Facebook, July 11)
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The Rev. Heather Christensen wrote The Interdependent Web, UU World's weekly guide to Unitarian Universalist blogs, from 2011 until 2020. She lives with her two young children in Bellingham, Washington.