Interdependent Web: State of religion

Interdependent Web: State of religion

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


State of religion

The Rev. James Ford was startled—and a bit annoyed—by the requirement to bring a Bible to interim ministry training.

Bottom line, while I have an admiration for aspects of the Bible, particularly I love the King James version for its literary merit; but, I do not use it as a touchstone for science, nor history, nor even, and this is most important, not even for ethics, except when I want to find a colorful illustration for some point, one that might be subtly recognized as having roots deep in our culture, knowing whatever that point might be, there is an illustration for it. In fact I question the Bible’s utility for just about any important aspect of life. (Monkey Mind, August 20)

Despite a careful search, the Rev. Sharon Wylie is disappointed by her visit to a non-UU church.

  • Ugh, even liberal faith traditions are still referring to God as “He” and “The Father.” I’m not down with an exclusively male God.

  • Being asked to sing about an exclusively male God is almost worse than hearing about him.

  • Sacrifice theology is also not my thing.

  • 45 minute sermons don’t lend themselves to creating an EXPERIENCE!

  • I hate, hate, hate pass the peace/greet your neighbor times in worship. HATE. THEM. I’m there for an EXPERIENCE! not for chit-chat. (Ministry in Steel Toe Shoes, August 16)

The Rev. Dr. David Breeden envisions a future in which most people have moved beyond “accommodation traditions” to agnosticism and atheism.

What does post-theistic community look like? There is no one answer. From bars and coffee shops to lectures and even congregational humanism in traditional buildings, the venues vary, though the message is much the same—though traditional religions are tired, the human spirit continues bright and unabated, creating meaning and purpose relevant to our world, right now, as it is. (Quest for Meaning, August 20)

After attending the National Church Leadership Institute, the Rev. Tom Schade has new thoughts about renewing the church.

I find myself thinking that maybe we should just stop trying to fix the church from within, by reforming our processes. . . . Maybe we should take a couple years off from our endless self-improvement projects and just go "all in for the social movements." Lead our congregations into finding their voice with which to proclaim the gospel of good news for the poor, freedom for the captive, bread for the hungry, water for the thirsty, and safety for the endangered. Throw ourselves into the struggle, by every means possible, for a few years, and then see where we are. (The Lively Tradition, August 15)

Revolution is uncomfortable

The Rev. Jeff Liebmann offers a Top Ten list of what Americans need to do to return sanity to our nation—culminating with “revolution.”

We cannot accomplish needed changes through incrementalism. We should seek nonviolent ways to catalyze large-scale changes quickly and effectively. That means grassroots movements for policy change, boycotts, dissent and other tools the people have at their disposal. And it especially means voting for the highest quality candidates and not just for anyone who happens to have a "D" or an "R" next to their names. (UUJeff’s Muse Kennel and Pizzatorium, August 17)

The Rev. Fred Hammond sits with his discomfort about Black Lives Matter tactics, and believes other white liberals need to learn how to live with their own discomfort.

White liberals, all whites regardless of political stripe, need to develop the ability to sit in discomfort and listen to how the system whites created serves to oppress, demean, and destroy Black Lives and other people of color. . . .

We need this skill. We need it yesterday. Because if we do not develop the ability to listen with humility no matter how uncomfortable the charge of racism is, then our hearts will harden and we will find ourselves siding with the supremacists who want ‘those agitators gone’ by any means necessary. (A Unitarian Universalist Minister in the South, August 14)

Jordinn Nelson Long practices witnessing what our culture urges us to ignore.

Today in the time it took to order, pay for, and receive my Starbucks iced latte, something happened that I was not supposed to see. A black teenager (who had dozed off at a table) was awakened, physically pulled from the building, grabbed, sat upon, and handcuffed in the asphalt parking lot by two for-hire security guards. The kid's hands were bleeding and the contents of his backpack were scattered, along with the blanket and pillow he had with him, in the drive lane of the parking lot. (Facebook, August 20)

Remembering a particularly helpful teacher, Kim Hampton suggests that separate and equal schools might be better for black children.

Research has shown time and again that white teachers treat children of color (especially black children) differently and have lower expectations for/of them. And we know that school discipline policies are applied more harshly to children of color. So maybe we need to rethink this integration thing, at least with young children of color. (East of Midnight, August 19)

Magic and mystery

The Rev. Catharine Clarenbach is looking for a new job—using traditional job-seeking skills, and “transrational,” magic ones.

The “transrational” is a space in between spaces. A space between what is knowable and unknowable, provable and unprovable. It is a borderland, a land spiritual people have inhabited for millennia. It is the land of magic. (Nature’s Path, August 19)

The Rev. Amy Beltaine moves through grieving her mother’s death—in a pattern she hadn’t expected.

My head knew that we each do grief our own way… that grief is personal and different and doesn’t move in a predictable way through our lives… But somehow my inner regulator had gotten some rules and was using them to beat myself up.

I’m sharing this because I want to be an evangelist for the message: “You are doing EXACTLY what you need to and are a good person.” I want you to know that the way you do grief is yours, you own it. (Nature’s Path, August 17)

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