Interdependent Web: What can we do?

Interdependent Web: What can we do?

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


What can we do?

The children of the Tennessee Valley UU Church shooting are growing up; Teryn Dixon, a young adult who was ten years old when the TVUUC shooting happened, shares this reflection.

[Somehow] I have come up with more love than I know what to do with. I feel so much more deeply now because I have had to rebuild myself, picking up pieces of my heart and finding ways to move forward with relative comfort. I now give love so freely, in hope that I will help someone else in the world stir up the courage to push past ignorance and come out of the shadows, a better person for the challenges they have overcome. (Facebook, December 2)

The Rev. Amy Petrie Show writes, “I will not pray for San Bernardino tonight.”

Tonight I will burn with fury and pain.
Tonight I will struggle to gain an understanding of
how to vote and who to call
to end the reign of
hatred and violence
in our streets.
Tonight time is running out and no one can wait for me to drop and bow my head. (Facebook, December 2)

Alison Leigh Lilly asks, “What is a gun?”

A crude thing. A blind force.

A force that cannot distinguish friend from foe, but only what is in its way. A bomb in the palm of your hand. A power of too often imperfect aim, like the frantic angry mob — something you are only safe from if you are behind it, sometimes not even then. . . .

Don’t tell me it’s for protection. It is power, refined to a point beyond which there is no return. It cannot turn aside the coming blow, only forestall it with the threat of greater violence or revenge. . . . But when is it ever enough? What can you do with such a force but amplify it, escalating, fear built upon fear? How can we defend against it, except by turning ourselves to stone? (Holy Wild, December 3)

The Rev. Dr. Nori J. Rost, who serves a congregation in Colorado Springs, meets with a friend after the Planned Parenthood shooting.

[It] was a meeting of two women who feel daunted and overwhelmed at the never-ending story of gun violence in our town, our nation, our world. It was a meeting of hearts that were broken over the continued devastation of our society. It was a sharing of stories of hope and hopelessness and finding hope again.

What can we do? We asked one another. We ended up deciding that maybe just gathering as moms and activists once a month to cry and laugh together might be the best thing we could do. (sUbteXt, December 2)

It’s complicated

Liz James provides a lesson in “ the art of making a big fuss”—in this case, working to free the Rev. Fulgence Ndagijimana.

We know that international pressure is effective in these cases. If we make it awkward and embarrassing to keep him, they will let him go.

He is little fish to them. But big fish to me. (Free Range Seminarian, November 21)

The Rev. Cynthia Kane asks, “ How do we raise children and instill in them a sense of safety?”

As a parent, I wish for a world of children strong enough not to lose their sense of perspective and cool with every new experience that masquerades as risk.

A world of children strong enough to embrace ever-widening worlds of joy and knowledge and competence, rather than retreating to ever smaller and seemingly safer spaces.

As a minister, I wish the same for the world of adults. (Captain Reverend Mother, November 26)

Sarah MacLeod assigns the writing topic “It’s Complicated” to her students and recommends it to all of us as a way of thinking about the world.

So let it be complicated. Read broadly, listen carefully, ask questions designed to understand opposing positions, and quiet defenses enough to listen to those positions. Drop the rhetoric and see where your words and actions betray your tightly-held values. Talk about what you truly value and not what others don’t. And keep seeking to understand.

It’s a complicated world, both within the walls of your own home and underneath our shared atmosphere. (Finding My Ground, November 23)

The Rev. Peggy Clarke is in Paris representing Unitarian Universalists at the COP21 climate talks.

Climate change will kill more people this year than terrorists. Just the asthma death rates alone for children in urban areas give terrorism a run for its money. We don’t even have to talk about drought or storms or any of the other “natural” disasters climate change is creating. But with all those deaths, with all that destruction, we don’t see appropriately armed guards at the ready. (Tim DeChristopher, December 1)

O Come, O Come Emmanuel

Claire Curole gives voice to the weary resolve with which we face the onslaught of bad news.

It is the Christian season of Advent, and the darkening end of the dark quarter of the year. We wait, uncertain, in the darkness. The old stories tell us that something different is coming – that the holy light of the world will return, soon, small and frail and tender; that it is ours to nurture and to protect until it is strong enough to sustain us. The modern stories tell us that we do not wait for the incarnation of the holy; we must become it: these hands, our hands, the hands of God in this world. It is ours to mend, and none other. Pray, yes, and weep as we must… rest for a moment, then pick up and keep going. (Sand Hill Diary, December 3)

The Rev. Dr. Victoria Weinstein responds to a post on the UUA’s Call and Response blog, one that asks congregations to include humanist perspectives in their holiday celebrations.

Very likely, I will spend Christmas Day dinner with atheist friends who do not participate at all in religious community, but some of whom will have attended Christmas Eve services because they appreciate the beauty of the story, the person of Jesus, the music from their childhood, and the warmth of community. They understand that religion’s job is not to worship science, but to help human beings cultivate the necessary sense of reverence, awe, hope and meaning that permits us to not kill ourselves when we consider the profound evil of many of the systems in which we are mired and complicit.

Religion does not need to be science. Science is science. (PeaceBang, December 2)

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