Interdependent Web: Rage, despair and resistance, sovereignty of the mind, and saying farewell

Interdependent Web: Rage, despair and resistance, sovereignty of the mind, and saying farewell

A weekly roundup of blogs and other user-generated web content about Unitarian Universalism.


Farewell, Mr. President

Doug Muder says goodbye to President Obama.

For me, any reflection on the Obama administration has to start with the personal: Over the last eight years I’ve developed a real affection for Barack Obama and his family. During campaigns, pundits sometimes ask whether voters would like to have a beer with a candidate. I’ll put a somewhat different spin on that idea: Of all the First Families of my lifetime, I’d most like to eat dinner with the Obamas. (The Weekly Sift, January 16)

Rage, despair and resistance

For the Rev. Dr. Victoria Weinstein, the inauguration of Donald Trump is good reason for dramatic language.

The sense of mounting horror I and millions of people all over the globe feel is not something that should be described in prosaic terms. It is operatic. I hear clashing minor chords. I hear a chorus of screaming sopranos, thundering bassi profundi. I am glued to my seat, pressed there by the dreadful vibrations of what ignorance and hate hath wrought. (Facebook, January 19)

Suzyn Smith Webb writes that “DC feels weird, and I don’t know how much of it is my own perception,” as she compares her experience of the city during past inaugurations. (Facebook, January 19)

The Rev. Sarah Gibb Millspaugh offers a prayer as Obama’s presidency ends, and Trump’s begins.

I pray that the people will keep our focus and courage, that we will raise enough hell that our voices will be heard, and ultimately, that something—our votes, our courts, our hell-raising, our Constitution—will protect the most vulnerable from this demagogue and his plutocrats. May their reign be weak and short-lived. . . .

I pray that we always point ourselves toward those things to which we say “yes, please:” loving our neighbors. Looking out for the common good. Embracing the diversity of the human family. Building a more just, merciful, and compassionate society. Creating peace. Living with wholeness and joy.

May it be so. Amen. (Facebook, January 18)

The Rev. Andrew Weber will join a protest march in Newark, Delaware.

I’m marching because I’m mad. I’m mad that someone who bullies, yells at and disrespects others could be treated with trust and honor. And the most difficult and the most important reason I am marching is because I feel disgusted. I am disgusted that I am a light skinned, middle-class, cisgender, straight male who will only benefit from the ongoing oppression of historically marginalized peoples. And that is disgusting and wrong. (Drive Like a Minister, January 19)

The Rev. Meg Riley offers advice to marchers about how to interact with members of the media. (Facebook, January 16)

The Rev. Amy Beltaine shares “ a ritual for strength to do the work that must be done,” assuring us that what we love can be saved. (Nature’s Path, January 17)

If you feel discouraged and weary, read the Rev. Cecilia Kingman’s Facebook post, in which she says, “Welcome to our spectacular uprising.” (Facebook, January 19)

Sovereignty of the mind

John Beckett challenges us to guard the sovereignty of our minds, and suggests ways to do so.

The next four years would have been challenging no matter who won the election. Now they will be even more challenging. The need for clear thinking, honest speaking, and courageous action is stronger than ever. If we are to respond according to our values and not the values of Trump and his ilk, we must maintain the sovereignty of our minds. (Under the Ancient Oaks, January 18)

The Rev. Jim Foti outlines America’s theological crisis.

We people of conscience are being called to major acts of resistance and justice, at a time when love and reason have all but vanished from our public theology. We must do all we can to bring them back. (Quest for Meaning, January 16)

The Rev. Tom Schade has a radical proposal.

I think that it is time for a group of prominent and respected people who represent the full range of the American people be gathered to propose a new, or radically revised, Constitution, one that dismantles the anti-democratic structures of the present one, and yet still protects the civil rights of those with minority opinions. (The Lively Tradition, January 17)

The Rev. David Pyle thinks that “government of the people, by the people, for the people” is a myth.

I am going to say something now that I know will be controversial. I believe that both the Divine Right of Kings theory and the Consent of the Governed theory exists to cover-up a truth that we do not like to admit, even to ourselves. Beyond the level of the small community, where it is possible to have authentic relationships no more than one or two steps from authority… beyond the level of small community like that of a church, a community group, or the government of some small towns… beyond this level where intentional and personal relationship is possible, all Authority in human society is based on force and coercion. The source of the authority of a Government is not the mythical consent of the People, but the ability of that government to exercise coercive force over their citizens and the citizens of other nations. (Celestial Lands, January 16)

Meditation and delight

For lighter fare, read the Rev. Amy Shaw’s amusing account of making homemade Turkish Delight. (Facebook, January 17)

It’s also fun to read Jacqueline Wolven’s list of reasons why she meditates—especially since she begins with “I meditate so I am less of an asshole.”

My first impulse, because I’m scrappy and the last child in my family bullied by older siblings, is to punch out with biting words or thoughts. I’m a jerk. I HATE this about myself and after years of therapy and countless self help books on how not to be so mean I realized that I could just calm that the fuck down. Seriously. I can chill out and if the thought arises I can just NOT SAY IT, but that takes the work of a jedi master and I needed a tool.

Hence, meditation. (Do Good Work, January 19)