Interdependent Web: Spiritual practices for anxious times, joining the resistance, practical specifics

Interdependent Web: Spiritual practices for anxious times, joining the resistance, practical specifics

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


Spiritual practices for anxious times

The Rev. Erica Baron writes that anxious times make spiritual practice more imperative, and offers several suggestions.

As many Pagans know intimately, water is restorative on many, many levels. Our bodies need it to survive, and it also supports emotional wellbeing and healing in a spiritual sense as well. There are many ways to receive the blessings of water, starting with drinking enough of it. I have also been taking longer showers than usual lately, as a way of cleansing the energies of anxiety and conflict out of my emotional system and nurturing emotional health. (Nature’s Path, February 3)

The Rev. Karen Hering considers what to trust in times of shadow and light.

What and whom do you trust to advise you about the turning of the seasons, or about changing conditions and how to prepare for them? Do you trust the ones voicing alarm at the sight of shadows? Or do you trust green shoots breaking through hardened ground, or the lengthening daylight that so faithfully brings the return of spring each year? Do you place your trust in the observations of science or sages, of eyewitnesses or experts, of your conscience or your community? Or have you come to trust, as many do, some combination of the above along with other options too?

We are living through a tremendous shift in seasons and conditions, and we have no shortage of sources trying to inform and advise us. The question of which ones to trust is salient, sometimes difficult to answer and highly influential in determining how we will prepare, respond and proceed. (Karen Hering, February 3)

Doug Muder shares the text of his recent sermon, “The Hope of a Humanist.”

[Healthy] hope requires exercise. On a regular basis, we need to visualize worthwhile things, try them, and see them come to pass. Not just because the world needs good things to happen, but because we, for ourselves, need to make good things happen and see ourselves making good things happen. (Free and Responsible, February 3)

The Rev. Dr. Victoria Weinstein encourages us to remember the times when healing has happened in our lives, without effort or intervention.

Think back to the time you had a pain that consumed your whole life. You thought it would never go away. . . . Don’t forget how much healing happens when you’re not even trying. Don’t forget how much resilience there is in people, in you, and yes—in entire nations. Don’t forget that. (Facebook, February 3)

Join the resistance

Adam Gonnerman suggests that UU congregations are a good place to join the resistance.

If you are against the xenophobic, divisive, and inhumane policies of the current administration and are not already involved in an organization working to push back this evil, now is the time to join the resistance. Check out what the UU congregations in your area are doing. (Adam Gonnerman, February 4)

The Rev. Dr. Carl Gregg offers resources for resisting the Trump agenda. (Carl Gregg, February 3)

The Rev. Cecilia Kingman challenges us to see beyond the chaos flurries generated by the current administration, and get to work on what can be done.

Today, figure out who you can work with locally. Invite some friends over and talk about making your city a sanctuary city. If you are in a sanctuary city, reach out to elected officials and ask how your city will mitigate the effects of the federal budget cuts that will occur. Ask how you can help. And people, attend to your personal preparedness. (Facebook, February 7)

Practical specifics

Carey McDonald reminds us that the U.S. Department of Education is relatively powerless.

I’m thinking we may need to find a different pressure point, and that point is chief state school officers—state superintendents, commissioners of education, etc. . . .

Can our chiefs stick together to preserve our education system as we know it? Many are elected, and most others are political appointees. Could the Council of Chief State School Officers step in and help support, for example, civil rights standards where DeVos will do as little as possible? . . .

These seem like key questions to answer. The state ed chiefs have a the most power in this equation, especially if they work together. I think I’ll call the MA Commissioner of Education this week and let him know I’m watching. (Facebook, February 7

Doug Muder considers the question of what to do with Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch.

[It’s] ironic that Gorsuch bills himself as an originalist, a judge who tries to find the lawmakers’ original intent and rule according to it—because the only reason this seat is open at all is that Republicans decided to let the Founders’ original intent be damned.

But their guy is in the White House now, so they want to turn the normal rules back on again, like the kid on the playground who calls time-out just before you tag him, and time-in when he’s safe on base. The question is whether Democrats should let them get away with it, and, if not, what the other options are. (The Weekly Sift, February 6)

The Rev. Dr. Carl Gregg shares the text of his remarks at a rally in solidarity with Muslim neighbors.

And the whole question of whether Islam is compatible with democracy is a distraction from seeing that the opposite is the case: it is Islamophobia and democracy which are incompatible. Islamophobia is a poison on our body politic. Yes, terrorism is a threat. But the next time you hear a politician scapegoating Muslims (and ignoring white nationalists) notice the ways that their demagoguery is fueling authoritarianism, undermining civil liberties, and decreasing tolerance—all of which are the much more serious threats to our freedom, democracy, and constitutional norms. (Carl Gregg, February 3)