Interdependent Web: Resistance is the new normal, reproductive choice, welcoming the stranger

Interdependent Web: Resistance is the new normal, reproductive choice, welcoming the stranger

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


Resistance is the new normal

The Rev. Amy Zucker Morgenstern brought her daughter to a protest outside Senator Dianne Feinstein’s office.

On the bus ride home, I said to Indigo, “If you have kids, one day they’ll ask you, ‘How old were you when that Trump guy became president?’” (“Nine!” she said.) “And they’ll say, ‘Do you remember it?’ And you’ll say ‘Oh yeah.’ And you’ll tell them about how when he tried to do bad stuff, you were there fighting back. That’ll be a great thing to tell your kids.” I hope that thought sustains her, as it does me. I think it must, because she added, “Or my grandkids.” (Mookie’s Mama, January 31)

The Rev. Dr. Cynthia Landrum offers ten suggestions for avoiding protest burn-out, including “follow your expertise.”

Do you have a lot of experience in an area that might be helpful? How can you use that strength? One great example is how lawyers responded to the immigration issue this week by going down to the airports themselves and helping people with legal aid on the spot. Are you a teacher? Maybe you can help with a teach-in. Are you a veteran? Share what you know about how this is not in America’s security interests. Are you a writer? Write! If, like me, you’re a great generalist, do a little of this and a little of that. There’s lots of space for you in this movement, because we need people to be flexible and responsive, and a wide variety of skills are needed. (The Lively Tradition, January 31)

The Rev. Lynn Ungar writes that “we need to be in conversation.”

We need to be in difficult conversations about oppression and liberation, and we need to be in difficult conversations with people we love who hold convictions that we find abhorrent. We need protests and immediate action, but we also need the long-term, profound change that only happens through people talking with one another through their differences.

So how do we do that? I think that we could start by understanding that we need different conversations with different people. (Quest for Meaning, February 1)

The Rev. Joanna Fontaine Crawford acknowledges that many of us are longing for “normal.”

But then that day happens when you realize you’re never getting back to that old innocent time. And instead, this is the “new normal.” And you need to change things so that living in this new normal becomes sustainable. And things that used to be special events—like calling your congressperson or attending a rally—become regular occurrences, just a part of your weekly routine.

And when that happens, you start learning tricks so that you can live in the new normal more effectively. You’re not radical ... this is just the new normal. Showing up at politicians’ town halls, questioning them publicly about how they’re not living up to the trust your community put in them. Being, frankly, a pain in their collective ass. (Boots and Blessings, February 2)

The Rev. Jake Morrill shares nine ways to stay free, beginning with “find common ground.”

[We’re] all in the same boat, even people who voted differently. Listen to understand, not to rebut. Keep the invitation open. Connect through non-political ways—the Super Bowl is coming up. Talk about that. Or talk about Hidden Figures. Or the weather. Even if someone regards you as the enemy, sinking to thinking the same of them gets you nowhere. Be the adult. Doesn’t mean you can’t disagree clearly and out loud, but keep on looking for it: common ground. (Facebook, January 29)

Reproductive choice

The Rev. Liz Stevens shares a recent letter to the editor about reproductive choice.

I believe every abortion is a tragedy. If I begin there, will you listen to the rest of what I have to say? . . . I believe every abortion is a tragedy, but I also believe studies . . . clearly show that the most effective way to reduce the abortion rate is to provide access to safe, convenient and affordable birth control, as well as comprehensive sex ed. (Revehstevens, January 26)

For the Rev. Dr. Victoria Weinstein, attacks on women’s reproductive choices are one front in a larger war.

These are dangerous times, and many of us have never lived through what is likely coming. Remember: withholding health care, destroying the earth, terrorizing black and brown people, protecting rapists and abusers who violently enforce patriarchy, persecuting queer folk, and strapping us down to the ob/gyn table for the crime of being sexually active—it’s all an agenda of hatred. They hate us. They hate us and they want to make us suffer.

Resist. (PeaceBang, January 31)

Welcoming the stranger

Deb Weiner remembers family friends in the context of the country’s struggle with immigration issues.

Reinhard and Margarethe came to this country for a better life – in search of stability, democracy, opportunity. They received it, were sponsored into American citizenship by my parents, and have loved and supported this country. Their story, of course, is one that has been – and hopefully will be – repeated, over and over again. I say this, while knowing that the new American President is busy building a wall that we are all going to pay for – not just in money but in so many other devastating ways. (Morning Stars Rising, January 27)

The Rev. Dan Harper discusses Trump’s executive order banning refugees from certain countries.

All people belonging to faith communities should be wary of this executive order; we have a vested interest in maintaining freedom of our religious beliefs in the United States, and this executive order is a definite step towards establishing state-sanctioned religious beliefs, insofar as it brands certain beliefs as not acceptable. As noted previously, Trump has indicated that Christian refugees will be considered exceptions under this executive order, but Christians should also be worried, unless you’re sure that you hold exactly the right kind of Christian belief that will receive government sanction. Atheists and agnostics, you too should be worried about the creeping establishment of government-approved religion! (Yet Another Unitarian Universalist, January 28)

UUA Trustees Tim Atkins and the Rev. Dr. Andy Burnette recounted their experiences protesting Trump’s immigration ban following the recent UUA Board meeting. (Facebook, January 28)

The Rev. Jordinn Nelson Long has seen dire warnings that the immigration ban is “a divide and conquer technique.”

[Maybe] it was indeed intended that way, but here’s a real thing: in my own circles, including on my own page, I am actually observing very little “divide” right now. Tons of divide before the election, and a fair amount after, but very little right now.

What I see, instead, is a broad coalition of people who are ready to work together that we might all rally behind some articles of shared faith: our own Constitution. I’ve seen so much of that willingness, in fact, that I’ve been a little taken aback by it. Like, I want to thank people, or cry, or pray about it, and also make sure I’m not being a pompous ass in this moment of solidarity.

And I keep thinking, in all of this, about a statement a friend and colleague made this morning. Which was: Now, and going forward, ZERO POINTS for being right. (Facebook, January 31)