Interdependent Web: Do your own work

Interdependent Web: Do your own work

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


Do your own work

Theresa Soto warns people of privilege against asking oppressed people to be their teachers.

Don’t ask people to rehearse their hurts for you. It might hurt them again. They might gauge their healing and decide what to tell you from their own personal story; that’s different. It’s a gift. Google it. Take a class. Check out a book from the library. Check YouTube for videos. . . . The thing is, there are friends for whom being of service by telling their story, by weighing in, is important. If you have a friend like that, they are intending to share. Just don’t take it for granted.

​Bottom line: Do your own homework. (Theresa Loves You, October 30)

On Reformation Day, the Rev. James Ford creates five theses for “getting over yourself” and having a mature spiritual life.

You have a brain. And it is no different than your heart. Not one, not two. Learn to use it wisely. One good way is to regularly sit down, shut up, and pay attention. Oh, and be decent today. If you can’t do anything more, just don’t be a jerk. If you can, do something positive for someone or some part of the planet. It helps with that perspective thing. (Monkey Mind, October 31)

The Rev. Dan Harper suggests four rules for insulating prayer from the Prosperity Gospel.

Unitarian Universalists generally agree with Jesus when he says in the Bible, “When you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray on the street corners to be seen by others” (Matt. 6:5). In other words, it’s fine if you pray but don’t be a show-off. In fact, don’t be a show-off with any spiritual practice. (Yet Another Unitarian Universalist, November 4)

The Rev. Lynn Ungar responds to people who are bothered by “politically correct” culture.

You do not have to have bad intentions to do something that’s racist. When you, all in good fun, attach a bunch of stereotypes to group of people, and then appropriate those stereotypes for your own amusement, that is a racist act. You know how you know that it’s a racist act? When the real people associated with the stereotypes tell you that they are hurt. (Quest for Meaning, October 30)

A home for your spirit

The Rev. Catharine Clarenbach asks us to discover the geographic center of our world.

In my heart, in my dreams, the hills of Pennsylvania are the landscape of home. But now I live in the gorgeous landscape of the Pacific Northwest. Here are the many conifers. Here are the misty mornings that slowly give way to warmth in the late afternoon. Here is the rocky coastline with the great Stones that rise up from the water. Here are the Cascades . . . .

Where has your spirit been given birth? When you close your eyes and look for the Sacred Within, where is its center? (The Way of the River, November 5)

The Rev. Dr. Carl Gregg writes about Margot Adler’s spiritual journey.

Growing up in a secular Jewish home, when she asked about her family’s religion, she was told, “We believe in the brotherhood of man.” And in a classic case of the “grass always looks greener on the other side,” she writes that from her childhood perspective, “the Brotherhood of Man seemed pretty sterile, despite its high ethics, and I grew up believing that my Catholic friends had a better deal.” (Pluralism, Pragmatism, Progressivism, October 30)

The Rev. Dr. David Breeden describes what a “religion-neutral zone” means in a humanist congregation.

Ideally, a Humanist congregational gathering is a religion-neutral zone. When I say “religion-neutral,” I’m not being ironic or clever. A Humanist liturgy is not an anti-religion zone or a no-religion zone. It is a place without sectarianism. The thought of such a liturgy may be . . . shocking to the orthodox. But it is shocking only in concept. In execution, it is . . . fresh and heartfelt. (Quest for Meaning, November 5)

Love changes us

Thomas Earthman writes about the ways love changes us.

Compassion is a choice to allow yourself to feel for another person: Take that risk, because even though people do get hurt, the world has never been worse off because someone cared or was cared for. (I Am UU, November 2)

Doug Muder draws parallels between the parable of the Good Samaritan and Black Lives Matter.

Sometimes I fantasize about Jesus coming to speak to my mostly white congregation, and wonder what he’d want to tell us. I can easily imagine him wanting to impress on us that we ought to take the lives of other people more seriously. Maybe he’d tell us a parable to get that idea across. But would his main character, the one whose life we should take more seriously, be a generic human being? I doubt it. I think he might well tell us a story about a person of color, maybe even a big scary-looking one. Until we understood that his life mattered, we wouldn’t have gotten the point. (The Weekly Sift, November 2)

Canadian seminarian Liz James feels like a “neighbor to a hostage situation” each time there’s a mass shooting in the United States.

Next time, when I see you join in a collective sob for the latest river of blood and bullets, I want you to know that I stand beside you silently. Like I would for the woman holding the hand of the body of her honour killed sister, wondering if there was something she could have done differently.

I may not be one of you, but I feel your heartbreak. And I do have a right to speak about it.

Even a responsibility. (Rebel with a Labelmaker, October 30)

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