Interdependent Web: Find the wellspring in your core

Interdependent Web: Find the wellspring in your core

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


Find the wellspring in your core

As part of a series on “The Arc of the Moral Universe,” the Rev. Dr. Meredith Garmon explores race as a social construct.

Race is such a powerful concept, yet it isn’t real. It’s not based on biology. There is no race chromosome in our DNA. . . . People who are very dark skinned get assigned one racial category and people who are very pale skinned get assigned another, but there’s a huge area of ambiguity in between. (The Liberal Pulpit, August 26)

The Rev. Tom Schade calls us to have the courage to persevere in the work of setting aside “the lens of whiteness.”

Because theology and ideology are so close, religious leaders have to be crystal clear. To see life through the lens of whiteness is idolatry; most would agree with that. But it is not clear to most that the assumptions of whiteness shape what white people think of everything else. The America that white people revere is not the same America that people of color know, and so therefore, it is not the real America. The Bible that has been read through the lens of whiteness is a distorted Bible. The Christianity practiced by white people has already lost touch with the gospel. The Unitarian Universalism of today is a pale and bleached version of what liberal religion is really. . . . To use the language of salvation, you will not be saved by your faithfulness to the forms of whiteness; you can become a citizen of Heaven's republic only by turning away from them. (The Lively Tradition, August 26)

Adam Dyer is scared that “as a predominantly white community, Unitarian Universalists don’t have the stamina or the self-education to do this thing we call ‘anti-racism/multi-culturalism.’”

I need you to prove that my fears are wrong. Dig deep. Find the wellspring in your core that sustains you as a change agent. Where is your faith? We are on a long journey; we’ve only just begun marching up the hill…we aren’t even close to the crest. Where is your faith? (Spirituwellness, August 26)

A faith of ‘but’ and ‘yet’

The Rev. Dr. Carl Gregg believes that an increasing number of people are seeking, “open-minded, open-hearted, justice-seeking religious community.”

Surveys increasingly show that, “The Christian share of the U.S. population is declining, while the number of U.S. adults who do not identify with any organized religion is growing.” In response, the trajectory I seek to facilitate for the “Spiritual But Not Religious” set is the move from dependence on the communities of one’s childhood through the struggle of individuation and independence (which is where many SBNRs find themselves hung up) to a more mature, freely-chosen interdependence. (Pluralism, Pragmatism, Progressivism, August 26)

The Rev. Dr. David Breeden rejects “the duality fallacy” of his Methodist neighbors.

The Methodist Church across the street from my church has a large lighted sign that reads, “It Will All Be OK!” Having been raised a Christian, I know what they mean by that. It’s a reassuring message. Perhaps those who put those words out there even believe it. It is, however, a myopic view and irresponsible besides. (Quest for Meaning, August 27)

After a previous negative post about the Bible, the Rev. James Ford admits that there are ways in which the Bible is helpful.

When the Bible is engaged . . . as an inheritance of collective wisdom to be interpreted and embraced or even on occasion rejected in the light of various modern disciplines like research psychology, it can indeed be useful. And useful in the ways that count most, in helping us see how our ancestors dealt with the great questions of life and death, and seeing how those understandings evolved, and seeing with that how our own understandings are limited and subject to new information. (Monkey Mind, August 21)

Andrew Hidas considers the attraction of certainty—and the reality of mystery.

But the truth (as I see it, using as much of my critical faculties as I can bring to bear on the matter) is that every “ism” provides but a window, a vantage point, into the many-roomed mansion of truth, of which we can attain but glimmers if we are motivated, focused and lucky in this world.

Yet if we are to attain such glimmers, it is essential for us to make liberal use of “but” and “yet” (as I did at the beginning of these last two sentences, ha ha!), our two humble spear-carriers on the road to whatever redemption might be awaiting us.

At least I think so. (Traversing, August 25)

Speaking out

The Rev. Liz Stevens uses her ministerial authority to support Planned Parenthood.

[When] an individual or a couple comes to me for counselling around an unwanted or unsafe pregnancy, my role is not to judge or condemn, but to support them in discerning what to do. Let’s be honest: often, all three options are tragic and difficult. People need to be held in love and encouraged to make the decision that is right for them. (Revehstevens, August 22)

The Rev. Amy Zucker Morgenstern speaks out about the impact on congregations in places where the cost of living is skyrocketing.

This has happened in our church more times than I can count. Someone who is a small-group leader, a teacher, a friend, a mentor, a singer in the choir, a Board member, reluctantly pulls up roots and moves to somewhere with affordable housing. It happens to property owners, though more often to renters; it happens to professionals like Nathan, though more often to those with lower-paying or part-time jobs. They want to stay, and we want them to, but they can’t. Our public policies are forcing them to leave, hitting our community with loss upon loss. (Sermons in Stones, August 21)

Blessing backpacks

The congregation where Karen G. Johnston is completing her internship recently blessed the backpacks of kids going back to school—and wallets, cell phones, and other items for learners of all ages.

Even when you are away from First Parish, you carry the heart of Unitarian Universalism with you wherever you go.

May you feel curiosity all your days.

May your imagination catch fire.

May you find courage when it is necessary.

May confusion lead to better questions.

May you feel compassion toward those around you, and they towards you.

May you feel heard and seen; may you hear and see others.

May you speak up for those who are not heard, who are not seen.

As your spirit’s home, we are made stronger when you share what you learn. We ask you to bring what you learn of the world back to this place. If you agree, say – “we will.” (Awake and Witness, August 27)

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