Interdependent Web: The choir bears witness

Interdependent Web: The choir bears witness

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


The choir bears witness

Karen G. Johnston, Erika Hewitt, and Kellie Kelly created together a prayer recognizing the anniversary of Mike Brown’s death in Ferguson, Missouri.

One year ago, at noon, Mike Brown, unarmed, living in a city with a police force that did not reflect the racial make-up of the community, where emails with racist content were shared regularly among law enforcement, where people of color were stopped for traffic violations at a much higher rate than their white fellow citizens, was shot and killed.

We bear witness. (Awake and Witness, August 9)

In her remarks at a UU rally in Ferguson, the Rev. Barbara Hoag Gadon disagreed with the dismissive phrase, “preaching to the choir.

The struggle for racial justice doesn’t really need any more soloists. We NEED a choir. We need a choir. We need a








And that choir is you. Let us go out and be heard. (Facebook, August 13)

The Rev. Dan Harper shares a lesson plan on Ferguson that the UU Church of Palo Alto used for children in grades K-8. (Yet Another Unitarian Universalist, August 9)

Broken hearts are messy

Hafidha Acuay Osuna has struggled with her reaction to this past week’s Black Lives Matter disruption of a Bernie Sanders event in Seattle.

On the one hand, Black Lives Matter. The torturing and killing of Black people (as well as other marginalized people) by law enforcement with little accountability and near-impunity is what we should all be upset about, and what should matter more than anything—certainly more than this event, or any single nominee candidate.

On the other hand, what I saw alarmed me on a deep, personal level that I can’t deny. To say otherwise would be a lie. Some people may be more desensitized to screaming matches; that doesn’t change how it affects me. (Never Say Never to Your Traveling Self, August 9)

The Rev. Cecilia Kingman was troubled by statements made by her white friends about the Black Lives Matter action in Seattle.

The stark difference between the conversations I am witnessing on social media—between my young Black friends and my white progressive and liberal friends and colleagues—is deeply troubling, and revealing. I will say it again: I do not think it is my place, as a person racialized to be white, to critique or question the strategies and tactics of people of color. How can we say, "Be polite, wait your turn, act appropriate" in the face of hundreds of years of violent, murderous oppression, exploitation and theft of labor (including in prisons today), and the ongoing extrajudicial state killings of Black people? (Facebook, August 10)

The Rev. Elizabeth Stevens reminds us that the work of healing broken hearts, and a broken world, is unavoidably messy.

[We] need to try to be gentle, kind, and forgiving with friends who are having a hard time on this heartbreak-and-healing journey. Like the people who are responding with anger and defensiveness to the action at Bernie Sander’s rally in Seattle last week. Like the people who committed acts of violence in Ferguson last night. Like me. Like all of us.

At the same time, we need to hold ourselves and one another accountable; it’s not fair to ask other people to clean up our broken-heart messes. (Revehstevens, August 10)

Caution and courage

The Rev. Dr. Carl Gregg tells several cautionary tales from UU history about leaders who burn themselves out and neglect their families.

We rightly draw inspiration from the pathbreaking figures of the past for the ongoing work of peace and justice. But we also need to see the humanity, limitations, and complexity of our forbears that we may recognize those same aspects in ourselves. (Pluralism, Pragmatism, Progressivism, August 13)

Christine Organ expresses her gratitude to teenage girls who give her a lesson in confidence on the high dive.

We, as parents, try to teach our children to be strong and confident and self-assured. . . .

But what we forget is that there is so much that YOU teach us. You remind us what it is like to be brave, if not fearless. (HuffPost Parents, August 11)

Music and mystery

The Rev. Ken Collier wishes UUs could experience worship as a chance to relax their rational minds, and sink into their intuitive minds.

When well done, the words and the music integrate, become something more than either alone. A new thing is created, a new thing that has the power to transform your soul, even though you object to the words when they are lifted out of the music. And so I say, leave them there, nestled into the music, and allow the art to penetrate your heart and change you. That, after all, is what worship is really about: the transformation and healing of your broken heart. (The Colliery, August 12)

The Rev. Jake Morrill considers research that says our universe is slowly dying.

What does it mean to live in a cosmos where the best science we have says we appear to be enjoying the Indian Summer of time?

. . . Do we live in a meaningless, dead-end process in which the light has already started to fade? Or do we live in a deciduous universe, in which death doesn’t get the final word, but is part of a larger life? (Quest for Meaning, August 12)

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