Interdependent Web: The meaning of the season; defiant wellbeing; moral opposition

Interdependent Web: The meaning of the season; defiant wellbeing; moral opposition

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


The meaning of the season

The Rev. Erica Baron writes a contemporary Yule tale about the struggle between the Oak King of Summer, and the Holly King of Winter.

The people began to see that their support of warmth and light over cold and darkness had altered the balance of the whole world. They began, slowly, one at a time, to realize that the Holly King was dying. And for the first time, this thought filled them with fear. What would happen if the balance continued to be destroyed? Could they even survive in a world without the Holly King? (Nature’s Path, December 3)

In response to a “war on Christmas” controversy at her children’s school, the Rev. Robin Bartlett writes about the war on Love, the meaning of the season.

When we stop loving our neighbors, we’ve lost the war. When we treat Christmas as if it’s your birthday, and not Christ’s, we've lost the war. When we start calling people “deplorable” or “snowflake,” we’ve lost the war. When we suggest that the advent season is about consumerism, Santa and reindeer, we’ve lost the war. (Facebook, December 6)

Defiant wellbeing

Jacqueline Wolven writes about finding happiness, as part of a blog series saying “good riddance” to 2016, and preparing for the holidays.

The key for all of us is finding out, for ourselves, what actually makes us happy. Not what your mom thinks, your boss, your best friend . . . but you. You have to grok your own special sauce of happy to be actually happy. And in my world, it’s whatever works. I’m not here to judge you (and I promise I’m working on that). You do you and find your happy place. (Jacqueline Wolven, December 7)

The Rev. Dr. Victoria Weinstein pulls herself out of a post-election slump, and encourages us to do the same.

This is going to be a great endeavor, and we must not allow our bodies to break down or appear to be breaking down in the struggle.

Put on your armor of beauty, polish, poise and decorum.

We are entering a long season of witness to God’s grandeur and the dignity of ALL people.

Let those of us who affirm the dignity of all people ourselves be dignified.

This struggle will be played out in front of cameras, my dear colleagues.

You take care of you so you can rise to the occasion. Shall we? (Beauty Tips for Ministers, December 8)

Weinstein also directs our attention to the profanely titled “#FuckthisShit Advent devotional, pointing out that some people protest “profane language . . . [but] remain silent and inactive about profane public policy.” (Beauty TIpsfor Ministers, December 8)

Justin Almeida rededicates himself to doing his internal work, so that his external work can flourish.

I realize that what I’ve been doing is arming myself. I’ve been taking an accounting of this early Trump era. I’ve been ticking off one offence after another and hoarding them. Because when my basket of brokenness is full, I’ll be laying it at the feet of every Trump supporter I come across. I so very much want to blame and shame them into submission; I want to beat them with the lash. I want them to pay in pain.

And this is why I need to do some deep care. Because my psycho-spiritual reserves are depleted and I am tired, angry and weary. In this state, I am dangerous to myself and others. I cannot do the work I am called to do; to be a peacemaker. (What’s My Age Again, December 2)

The Rev. Dr. Carl Gregg shares advice about being happy—even in the age of Trump.

I initially planned this post about happiness as a potentially helpful topic in these days of increasing darkness as we approach Winter Solstice, the longest night of the year. Now, there is the additional trauma of the coming Trump Administration. So this post is one among many reflections to come on resistance and resilience in the age of Trump. (Pluralism, Pragmatism, Progressivism, December 8)

Moral opposition

The Rev. Thom Belote suggests a strategy for moral opposition to the repeal of the Affordable Care Act.

Find out who are the people you know who get their health insurance through the exchanges and have health insurance because of the ACA. . . .

Get permission to write their stories. Talk about who they are, what they contribute to their communities, what having health insurance means to them, and how screwed they’d be if they lost their health insurance. Then publish these stories on Facebook, blogs, and social media.

. . . . Stay in touch with the people you write about. Document their pain, their hardship, their vulnerability, and the harm done to them. (RevThom, December 8)

Everett Howe is not sure the guardrails of democracy will hold.

I have friends who voted for Donald Trump, and who recognize the aspects of his personality that are not suited for the presidency. But they expect that calmer minds in the administration will prevail; they expect that Trump’s worst excesses will not lead us off the road and into the chasm; they expect that the guardrails of our democracy will hold.

But some of these guardrails have been tested before. And they haven’t always held. . . .

My fear is that in the next few years there will be some kind of crisis — maybe an attack by terrorists, maybe something else — that will bring out the worst of America. And I am worried that the guardrails will not hold. What can I do with this fear? If you share it, what can you do with this fear? Is there a way that we can maintain some hope amidst this fear? (The Humanist Seminarian, December 6)

The Rev. Lynn Ungar applies a lesson from her knowledge of dog training—that it’s easier to teach a positive than a negative—to our current political situation.

It is entirely appropriate and necessary to be upset when you see things happening in your country that threaten life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. But upset is not the world’s best long-term strategy, especially if you spend your effort on being upset with the people who largely agree with you. Rage and protest have their place, but over time they tend to become exhausting. What if, instead, you chose to focus on the world that you want to see, and kept taking steps in that direction? What if you focused on building what you wanted instead of fighting what you didn’t want? (Quest for Meaning, December 4)

Doug Muder discusses the Trump campaign’s assault on facts.

People accept claims as factual for partisan reasons, and then later can be moved to draw consequences from those false claims. Those consequences might include horrible actions that those same people would have rejected had they been proposed directly.

It’s hard to see what to do about this, but it has to start with identifying the advantages reality has over falsehood. Obviously, reality also has many disadvantages, but its advantages include that it is persistent, self-consistent, and infinitely detailed.

Fantastic lies depend on an ability to constantly change the subject, so that the thinness of the fantasy world can’t be compared to the richness of reality. When a topic becomes so important that it stays in the public mind for long periods of time — the Iraq War is a good example — it becomes harder to lie about. (The Weekly Sift, December 5)