Interdependent Web: Controversial banners get reactions

Interdependent Web: Controversial banners get reactions

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


Controversial banners get reactions

The Rev. Tom Schade notes that many UU congregations are learning the power of hanging Black Lives Matter banners.

[Hang] a controversial banner on the outside of a church, and you get a reaction. People steal them. People deface them. People modify them. It takes bravery and courage to persist. Other people are encouraged and supported by the church's persistence in the face of opposition. The congregation is communicating. (The Lively Tradition, September 2)

The Rev. Dr. Cynthia Landrum writes that defaced banners have made clear the racism behind “All Lives Matter.”

There’s no confusion here what we mean when we say, “Black Lives Matter.” This push-back of “All Lives Matter” isn’t about clarification of a misunderstanding. It’s about an angry response to anti-racism challenging the white cultural supremacy. It’s as simple as that. (The Lively Tradition, September 3)

The Rev. Cynthia Cain shares the story of her congregation’s Black Lives Matter sign.

I look ahead and wonder, what will our children say about this time? "Why did people attack others for saying 'Black Lives Matter?'" "Was it that bad?"

Well, yes, it is that bad. That's why we have to say it, and go on saying it, despite the threats, the taunts, the vile, ugly attacks. Because the opposite of Black Lives Matter is not "All lives matter." It is "Black lives don't matter." That is being shown to us in countless ways. And attacks on the sign, and on the words, are one more way.

(A Jersey Girl in Kentucky, September 1)

Inherent worth and dignity

The Rev. Cynthia Landrum remembers a trip to Boston with her friend and colleague, the Rev. Laurie Thomas, who died recently.

We encountered in the course of a weekend so many little, and big, accessibility issues and issues of injustice or prejudice, that my head was spinning. I was angry—furious—at the encounters. Laurie just shook her head at me. This was everyday life for her, and not out of the ordinary at all. Besides, she explained, she didn't have the luxury of being angry. If you're angry, people won't want to help you, and in some of these situations she might require help of people who don't know her. "Nobody likes the angry gimp," she said to me. (Rev. Cyn, August 30)

The Rev. Amy Zucker Morgenstern’s young daughter buys her first violin—in a store that feels like Ollivander’s Wand Shop.

The proprietor had a slight accent I couldn’t identify, and deep, dark eyes that, no lie, twinkled as he bent down to ask her if she were a careful girl. He initiated her into the first secrets of the craft. And then there was the glow of magic on Mookie’s face as she looked at the beautiful thing in its green velvet. “I’m so excited!” she whispered. (Mookie’s Mama, August 29)

The power of place

The Rev. Deanna Vandiver speaks from the deep pain marking ten years since Hurricane Katrina brings to the people of New Orleans.

I have turned my attention to the poets in this last week as the nation has turned its attention to New Orleans and the Gulf South for what has often been a weirdly voyeuristic recapitulation of Hurricane Katrina and the recovery (or lack thereof) in the past ten years. . . .

I have needed these reminders for my own equilibrium, to release my soul and see by my own light, in this surreal time of trauma triggers and shameless exploitation of the stories of the most vulnerable – yet again, 10 years later, after Hurricane Katrina, after the Federal Flood of 2005, after the widely and deeply disrespectful, inhumane response from our governmental institutions. (Quest for Meaning, September 1)

The Rev. Tom Schade writes that the renaming of Denali“is about whiteness.”

President Obama took something that was symbolically white and gave it back to Native America. . . . Denali is a beautiful mountain, named "the Great One" in the language of the human beings who have known it longest. It never needed any other name. Our faith calls upon us to resist the power that claims the right to give it another name. (The Lively Tradition, September 1)

Celebrating our religion

The Rev. Dr. Carl Gregg writes about how he came to love the syncretism of Unitarian Universalism.

Unitarian Universalism invites us to see syncretism as not only normal and inevitable, but also as good and healthy. We are intentionally a “big tent,” pluralistic community, which draws explicitly from six diverse sources that include all the world’s religions, balanced with the insights of modern science. (Pluralism, Pragmatism, Progressivism, September 1)

The Rev. James Ford finds in liberal religion “a spirituality for non-believers.”

Here we find an invitation into the reformulation of ancient stories, dropping the bits that are not really useful, but looking for those parts that have in fact helped people to focus in and to see what it means to live in a world where we will all die.

Here we’re invited to find our one wild and precious life within a Christianity where hell and heaven are the things we create in our own lives. Here, a Buddhism where each intention and action taken this moment creates a new life in the next. These are religions worth exploring, unpacking, taken as maps into the depths of our hearts, and compasses to guide us out into the world. (Monkey Mind, September 2)

The long journey

The Rev. Nori Rost is moved to tears by an evangelical minister’s sermon, coming out in favor of equal marriage.

I thought he’d say, gays and lesbians are welcome but marriage is between one man and one woman.

Instead he fully affirmed the human dignity and worth of queer folk, and unequivocally welcomed all into their church. . . . [He] simply stated that homosexual relationships mean something different than what was depicted in biblical times and that of all the things Christians were called to, loving one another was chief among them. (sUbteXt, August 30)

The Rev. Dawn Cooley writes that optimistics take the long view—when things are good, and when things are bad.

[This] is how grief works: one strand gets connected to another, and another. Where I might be able to handle one strand or even two without much disruption in my day-to-day life, when it becomes a heavy net of strands woven together, even an ultimate optimist can collapse under the weight and retire to bed for recuperation. . . .

Being an ultimate optimist does not make one immune to sorrow. . . . What we don’t do, usually, is get stuck there permanently. (Speaking of, August 28)

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