Interdependent Web: Falling short of inclusion

Interdependent Web: Falling short of inclusion

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


Falling short of inclusion

DeReau Farrar writes that there is “clearly a craving among contemporary Unitarian Universalists to welcome the ethnic other that falls short of actual inclusion,” and suggests that Unitarian Universalism instead accept that it is a profoundly White institution.

Many Unitarian Universalists would not like this proposal. They are not comfortable with the idea of only being surrounded by other White people. I would remind them that this is not about them, nor is it about their discomfort. I would suggest to them that if they really wanted denominational diversity, they would fund the installation of congregations throughout the country that had cultural identities congruent with their surrounding neighborhoods. And, they would put the leadership of these congregations in the hands of people of Color that could relate to the experiences of those gathering. I would urge them to work toward correcting the ills of Whiteness instead of the woes of Otherness.

People of Color who want White Unitarian Universalism, for whatever reason, whether personal or professional, will find it. I promise they do not need your help. (Facebook, March 18)

Personal stories

Margaret Sequeira responds to the recent television series, When We Rise, with gratitude for all the activists who make her family’s life together possible.

I did not put my life on the line, I did not get beaten up or stabbed, I did not lose my family. I do know that their kicking that closet door off its hinges made it possible for me and so many others to come out. I know their example helped me be willing to be publicly out, and publicly out as a queer person of faith. I do not believe that I would have the family that I have today if it were not for these people who believed that they were here to do great work, important work. (Scattered Revelations, March 17)

For the Rev. Tony Lorenzen, vocation and loss are intertwined.

I forget birthdays and anniversaries and I even sometimes forget to send Christmas cards, but every year on March 23 I remember the anniversary of my sister’s passing because it is intimately intertwined with my life and my identity as a Unitarian Universalist minister.

Ten years ago today I met and was welcomed into the ministry by the Ministerial Fellowship Committee of the Unitarian Universalist Association. Ten years ago today my sister passed into whatever is next after this life. (Sunflower Chalice, March 23)

All water is one water

In celebration of World Water Day, the Rev. Myke Johnson writes about the connectedness of the water system.

Every being needs water: insects, birds, mammals, fish, humans. Water also rises up into the stems of plants and the trunks of trees. But none of the water is isolated from the rest—even our own bodies are part of the watershed. We drink in the water, it moves through our blood, and permeates all of our cells, and then we sweat it out or pee it out. Sometimes we weep with wet salty tears. The water goes back to the air or the earth and continues in streams and rivers on its way to the ocean. The cycle keeps going round and round.

All the water on earth is really one water, continuously flowing through the biosphere. Even if we get water from our kitchen tap, that water has been around the world on its journey. All water is connected, and connects all of life. (Finding Our Way Home, March 22)

John Beckett shares three religious non-negotiables, including a belief in respectful and reciprocal relationships.

I understand some ancient pagan religions were built on these ideas of hierarchy. I understand some contemporary Pagans and polytheists think they’re important. They are welcome to them, but I reject them as unethical and unhelpful.

All beings possess inherent sovereignty– the right to rule their own lives and the responsibility to rule them rightly. If we expect them to respect our sovereignty, we must respect theirs. Rather than finding our place in some great hierarchy, we form and maintain respectful and reciprocal relationships. (Under the Ancient Oaks, March 22)

Allison Ehrman writes about the power of travel to give us a sense of the uniqueness of each place.

Travel is a powerful change agent in the life of any human. It enables us to understand that there are other ways of living, other ways of being in community with our fellow humans, other ways of identifying with our environment. Each new location we visit or live in forces us to alter our concept of what the earth is and who we are. We relate personally to our current setting, but even that relationship is informed by the accumulated understanding we have developed across our lifetime of travel. (Nature’s Path, March 17)

Working for each other

Adam Gonnerman asks, “ What should UU Humanists be doing in addition to working for social justice?”

In my opinion, we should be promoting science and reason in the most interesting, engaging ways possible. . . . Unitarian Universalism has social justice covered; what it needs as well are advocates for understanding the amazing universe of which we are a part. (Adam Gonnerman, March 18)

The Rev. Dr. Meredith Garmon responds to J.D. Vance’s Hillbilly Elegy.

Criticism is a form of holding accountable—a way to build community and connection by lifting an expectation that the criticized account for themselves. Criticism affirms the agency and the responsibility of those criticized. While criticism of the less privileged by the more privileged is fraught with peril, if done respectfully (and I have to hope that it is possible to criticize respectfully even across socio-economic power divides) it welcomes the criticized into the dialog of democracy, rather than subjecting them to deterministic treatment or the exclusion of being beneath notice. (The Liberal Pulpit, March 21)

Kari Kopnick puts on her battle gear—a Hillary Clinton t-shirt.

Today it’s not about politics for me. It’s personal. I may not have always agreed with Secretary Clinton’s stand on all the issues. But one thing we can say is that this woman knows how to fight like hell. Fight like hell. If she can, maybe I can. This country is not for the haters. It’s not about keeping people down, it’s about lifting each other up. We can’t stop working for each other. It’s too important. There is too much on the line.

I still got a lot of fight left in me. And I got a t-shirt to prove it. (Kari Kopnick, March 23)