Interdependent Web: Trains and beaches

Interdependent Web: Trains and beaches

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


Trains and beaches

For the Rev. Madelyn Kelstein Campbell, current images of refugees on trains, and drowned babies washed up on beaches, are echoes of the past.

[This] week we see new images of refugees on trains—being taken to camps where they do not wish to go, and being forced to remain, like cattle, in cramped quarters, because no one is wanting to take them in. And we have seen babies washed up on the shore. Babies have washed up on the shore because no country would give them harbor. (The Widow’s Mite-y Blog, September 5)

For the Rev. Elizabeth Stevens, the image of a dead toddler on a beach in Turkey humanizes a faraway war, and breaks open her heart.

All of us are powerless in the face of huge numbers. What moves us, what changes the world, are personal connections. Stories. Relationships. Images that break our hearts forge bonds between us. If we let it in, the compassion and empathy we feel for that one small human and his family transforms us, and we, in turn, help to transform the world.

But only if we ask ourselves, “what can we do?” What can we do that is real? And helpful? Only if we learn. (Revehstevens, September 6)

The Rev. James Ford acknowledges that welcoming refugees is difficult—but morally necessary, and in larger numbers than the U. S. plans to accept.

[Owning] our part in all this and some simple common decency requires us to do our best to screen the new refugees, but, yes, to take in that sixty-five thousand. And this needs to be on top of the annual seventy thousand number that the US has been taking in from various crises around the world for the last couple of years. Not instead of.

And, actually, we should be taking in a lot more. (Monkey Mind, September 6)

The Rev. Jake Morrill sums up the Syrian refugee crisis in a recent Facebook post.

To those who wonder, "Why don't they go back?" One response is, "Back to what?" Another is, "This is the consequence of climate change, coming full circle. It turns out our gas wasn't so cheap, after all." (Facebook, September 5)

UU responses to the refugee crisis is the topic of this week’s episode of The VUU, the Church of the Larger Fellowship’s online talk show. (The VUU, September 10, discussion begins at 18:30)

Resistance to Black Lives Matter

The Rev. Joanna Fontaine Crawford is disheartened by calls for “unity,” which are thinly disguised resistance to Black Lives Matter.

This call to "Unity" seems to me to be a siren call to abandon the difficult work that must be done, to stop exposing the truth, so that the privileged may sleep better at night, and so that the monster that is white supremacy can reign unfettered, fat with destroyed lives and broken dreams, happy with keeping things the way they have always been. (Boots and Blessings, September 8)

The Rev. Amy Zucker Morgenstern came to a disturbing realization about negative responses to Black Lives Matter.

I don’t want to leap to conclusions, here, or oversimplify a complex situation. I just want to note how chilling it is to realize that only two issues, in my experience, elicit the passionate conviction that concern for X necessarily excludes concern for Y: a focus on the worth of non-human animals’ lives, and a focus on the worth of black humans’ lives. (Sermons in Stones, September 10)

Don’t yuck my yum

Karen G. Johnston is a UU Buddhist who loves receiving communion in a welcoming Christian church.

I know that communion is not for everyone. It can feel far too Christian for my Jewish or once-Jewish friends. It can be full of hauntings for my once Christian friends. It can be too saturated in superstition for my atheist, rationalist friends. That’s okay. I get it. I’m sad for you if you are feeling loss or grief. I am happy for you if you are feeling free of a burden.

Just don’t yuck my yum. (Awake and Witness, September 7)

Alix Klingenberg writes a letter to her fellow UUs—and to herself—reminding us that church attendance is about connection, not validation.

My loves, we need to stop bickering and making each other feel less than for not holding exactly the same theological beliefs as we do. We are a diverse community of people with personal and communal needs and experiences. Some of us believe in God and some of us do not. Neither is more or less entitled to the movement. . . . We are struggling as a movement because we want UU to be what we personally think it is. We often do not see the diverse, conglomerate of misfits that it really is—we project ourselves onto the movement and then feel rejected when we find we are not exactly right. (Doubled Up in Love, September 9)

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Justice and Compassion for Refugees - The VUU #11

The Rev. Eric Cherry joins The VUU to discuss organizing UU engagement with the global refugee crisis.