Interdependent Web: Bad ass and owning it

Interdependent Web: Bad ass and owning it

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


Bad ass and owning it

The Rev. Cynthia Kane celebrates strong women, while acknowledging the reasons many women diminish themselves.

There is no point in history where we have been more blessed with women role models from all walks of life, owning their physical, mental, and spiritual power in magnificent ways; living their truths; getting out in the world to do what they came to; and letting go of that pernicious, bone-deep fear that keeps so many of us in check.

That fear that we cannot be feminine while being who we are. (Captain Reverend Mother, July 15)

Twenty years with HIV

After living for twenty years with HIV, Teo Drake has a complicated history with survival.

How do I tell you that I know you are happy I am still here and that I am grateful too, but that gratitude is also complicated. Some of my friends aren’t here. When you hug me and I feel held by your touch, I remember the times some of us had to sneak in to hospital rooms and take off protective clothing so our friends could feel the warmth of touch and absence of fear before they died. Even now twenty years later I sometimes still encounter touch tinged with fear and my body remembers that the war isn’t over. (Roots Grow the Tree, July 15)

Loving ourselves and each other

Raziq Brown feels lucky to have had parents who were proud of their slave history.

In my mind my slave ancestry is nothing to be ashamed of, nothing to be sad about, and nothing to hide.

To me it's a constant reminder that the African, the black person, is stronger than the world gives us credit. . . .

We endure through laughter.

We endure through song.

We endure through loving ourselves and each other.

We endure. (Facebook, July 10)

In three lengthy posts, the Rev. Dr. Cynthia Landrum assesses what happened with the Black Lives Matter AIW at General Assembly.

Given that so many of us arrived at General Assembly assuming that a Black Lives Matter Action of Immediate Witness (AIW) would and should happen, why was the process of passing it so painful? To answer that question, there are some background pieces that should be understood. First, there is what happened earlier in the General Sessions (Plenaries) at this year's General Assembly. Secondly, there's the mini-assembly for the AIW and what happened there. Lastly, and most importantly, there's the UUA's history, and in particular the "Empowerment Controversy" and walkout of 1969. (The Lively Tradition, July 14)

Cynthia Cain responds to a viral post by a blogger who says that he had quit talking about race to white people.

[This] is where many of us "white people" are. We have listened. We have been quiet. We haven't been running in and trying to take over everything as we are accused of doing. We've backed off as suggested. . . .

There is so much to talk about. And so many of whom are ready. We don't mind being schooled, but that can only happen in the context of a relationship, between two mature adults, or young adults, willing to talk, listen, stay at the table, stick it out, show up, be real. (A Jersey Girl in Kentucky, July 13)

Douglass Davidoff notices a simple, and yet profound difference when congregations sing “We Shall Overcome” at the beginning of service, rather than at the end.

For whites, the hymn should be a place of departure and an impetus for discussion, prayer, and pondering concerning how to overcome. I won’t be satisfied [any] more when the hymn is a finale, postured as an aspiration but in reality often just an excuse for some sighs of exasperation with the human condition and then a rush for the literal and figurative exits. (Medium, July 12)

Congregational voices

Kat Liu explains the physics of congregational singing.

There's a scientific explanation for why untrained people singing as a group sound better than untrained individuals. . . . When a person sings, especially an untrained person, there are usually fluctuations in the pitch. But with a whole group of people singing together, all our fluctuations happen more or less randomly and thus cancel out, whereas the good, on-pitch parts strengthen each other. The overall effect is that weaknesses are minimized and strengths are amplified.

I think that is a good metaphor for a congregation in general, not just while singing hymns. (, July 12)

The Rev. Tom Schade appreciates that the UU congregation he attends is literally “finding its voice” in singing together.

We are not singing songs of some far-off, long-ago freedom movement, we are a freedom movement, one tiny and limited embodiment of that justice movement, but we are singing in our own voices. We have found "our" voice.

Yes, we are proclaiming ourselves a movement in the safe space of our own sanctuary, but it is a step. If we sing like that on Sunday in church, could we sing like that in front of the courthouse? Suppose we were to gather our courage and sing our songs, in our newly-found collective voice in the public square? Suppose we invited all others to join us, and to find their voice in the chorus we are trying to call into being? (The Lively Tradition, July 13)

Humanism and the UUA

Maria Greene asks why humanism is so scary for the UUA.

I, personally, do not want to eliminate the diversity in Unitarian Universalism because I see our diversity on matters of belief as minor compared to our unanimity on matters of ethics. We love alike and we love really, really well. So, UUA leaders, don’t be afraid of us Humanists. Engage with us and find out what you can do to show that we, too, are a valued part of the movement. (Quest for Meaning, July 16)

The Rev. Amy Zucker Morgenstern responds to an earlier post by Greene, about humanism and the UUA.

The mythical time when you could spend a lifetime in Unitarian Universalism without ever hearing the words “Jesus Christ” except when the sexton tripped over his bucket, is just that: a myth. It never happened.

And even if it had, all those words and symbols belong in our congregations because all of us belong in our congregations. (Sermons in Stones, July 16)

Celebrating Unitarian Universalism

Natalie Harris, a UU college student, writes about the Unitarian Universalism she experienced in her high school youth group.

Would you believe me that any religion is accepted at a UU Fellowship? How about if I said any sexual orientation is accepted? Well, it's true. You are allowed to believe in one God. You are allowed to believe in many gods. You are allowed to believe in no god(s). We are actually the religion with the biggest support for the LGBTQI community, and anyone of any sexual orientation or gender identity. (The Odyssey, July 14)

The blog Affirm and Promote honored this week’s Pluto fly-by by highlighting several UUs with connections to astronomy and space travel. (Affirm and Promote, July 14)

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