Interdependent Web: Responding to terrorism

Interdependent Web: Responding to terrorism

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

Heather Christensen


Responding to terrorism

Doug Muder’s “meditation on terrorism” reminds us who the real audience is for military responses to acts of terror.

[The] real audience to our response isn’t al-Baghdadi or the jihadis who have already joined his cause, it’s all the world’s Muslims—especially the teenagers who are trying to decide whether or not their dream of making it in the West or finding a place in the world for their country is really feasible. (The Weekly Sift, November 16)

The Rev. Brian Kiely asks if we will respond to terrorism with closed fists, or open hands.

How do we respond afterwards, when the adrenaline subsides? Do we show a closed fist? Do we draw farther into our enclaves? Close borders? Build higher walls? Some will want to to exactly that. They will call for harsher laws, more guns, fewer rights thinking this will make them safer. Do we demarcate between ‘us’ and ‘them’ and demonize the other?

Or do we reach out with open arms and open hands, with compassion for the wounded and dead, of course, but also for those who are driven to such awful acts? (Facebook, November 14)

The Rev. Elizabeth Stevens outlines what helps after tragedies, and what doesn’t.

These are challenging times, but they are also rich with potential. As hard as it is to bear witness to the stream of tragedies sometimes, our broken hearts connect us in a way that has never occurred before, a way that is desperately needed. I have unlimited faith in the resilience of the human spirit. Together, we will figure out how to weave a web of compassion that embraces the whole human family. (revehstevens, November 14)

The Rev. Tony Lorenzen contrasts those who tear down, and those who build up.

Terrorists, racists, and fundamentalists practice dehumanization – they remove other people’s humanity. Once you remove the “other’s” humanity, it is much easier to hurt, maim, rape, torture, or kill them. They are not human. They are different, less than. If someone is human just as you are human it is much more difficult to justify treating them unjustly or with cruelty.

When we build community we practice re-humanization. We make our neighbors, especially those who are very different from us more like us. In order to love our neighbor as ourselves we first have to recognize our neighbor as being our neighbor. (Sunflower Chalice, November 19)

The Rev. Lynn Ungar suggests that we all could re-examine our overly-certain beliefs.

There is no easy answer, no solution that will make us all safe in the face of evil. But there are ways, large and small, that each of can interrogate our own beliefs and actions, and the beliefs and actions of those who act on our behalf, to try to root out the evil that we have unwittingly embraced. We can be less right and more kind. We can stand on the side of love. (Quest for Meaning, November 15)

Welcoming refugees

Watching American anxiety about Syrian refugees, the Rev. Jake Morrill notices that all lives apparently don’t matter, and that Christmas may feel hollow this year.

I'm thinking about Christmas, the day we welcome salvation through the incarnation of a helpless one born to a family on the road, far from home. . . . [Anyone] blocking entry to poor terrorized families might have a lit tree, might still get some presents, and drink their share of eggnog, but there's no way, with a heart wired shut against the least of these, against the child in the manger, that a person could possibly celebrate Christmas. (Facebook, November 16)

The Rev. Jude Geiger shares a prayer for Paris, and for Syrian refugees.

We hold in our hearts the Syrian refugees,
our siblings in the world who are escaping from these same terrorists.

May we not be swayed by false or confusing media reports that seek to make “all of them” out to be not like “all of us.”

May we be in solidarity with these peaceful neighbors. (RevWho, November 15)

The UU experience

Alison Leigh Lily begins a series about her experiences as a new UU.

I came to UU out of curiosity; but I’ve stayed because this community has proven big enough to embrace those tensions that energize and inspire my spiritual journey. I find myself challenged to think and rethink, to grow, to become a better person; but just as often I’m the one challenging others, and always they respond to that challenge as though it were something to be treasured rather than something to be avoided. I stay, because this community is one within which I can continue to cross boundaries, without having to leave my community behind. (Nature’s Path, November 13)

Alex Kapitan writes about still being genderqueer, rather than “transitioned,” despite taking testosterone.

My genderqueer can be, will be, is, a petite, sideburns-sporting, fey, flaming queer guy in heels who is every bit as fabulous as every version of self that has come before; who continues to push the envelope, the boundaries, and the binary, and bust them all wide open. (Roots Grow the Tree, November 16)

The Rev. Tom Schade outlines mismatches between UUism and the work it needs to do, reasons for those gaps, and reasons for hope.

We have buildings, many beautiful buildings; but modern communications make place irrelevant.

We are skilled in written words; but the world now communicates in image and music.

We have spirituality embedded in a long and glorious religious tradition; and much of the world wants spirituality but actively and consciously rejects religious tradition. (The Lively Tradition, November 16)

Holiday break

To our U.S. readers, we wish you a very happy Thanksgiving holiday. The Interdependent Web will return on Friday, December 4.

We encourage you to engage with these bloggers by commenting on their sites.