Interdependent Web: Pushing back on despair

Interdependent Web: Pushing back on despair

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

Heather Christensen


Pushing back on despair

Andrew Hidas gives voice to his despair about gun violence—and pushes back against it with a rant about the gun lobby.

The data tell us we are steadily, inexorably, even through various fits and starts, turning a corner toward a more just and flourishing future.

But after Sandy Hook and Boston, Charleston and Planned Parenthood and San Bernardino, my stomach is telling me something different. And it’s doing so in a more haunted voice, which I notice sometimes contains a note of despair. (Traversing, December 5)

Doug Muder gives liberals a metaphor for understanding gun owners’ anxiety.

If you’ve ever dealt with a frightened child or remember being one, you know that you can’t solve a closet-monster problem by finding statistics to demonstrate how low being-eaten-by-a-closet-monster ranks among childhood death risks. Instead, you need to come up with some talisman or ritual that creates an aura of safety. The child needs a security blanket or a teddy bear, not more accurate information about relative risks.

That’s the need that guns fulfill for most of their owners. They’re security blankets, not insurance policies. (The Weekly Sift, December 7)

We will not stay silent

Responding to recent comments by presidential candidate Donald Trump, Margaret Sequeira writes that now is not the time for silence.

Over and over again, after the truth comes out, we are horrified and we pledge "never again." We see the pattern that good people ignored the signs, they didn't think it could happen, not here, surely it is just rhetoric or that they spoke up too late or not at all.

We cannot just sit back and say "Oh No it will never happen here." We must speak up now and over and over again. We cannot let Trump's words go unchallenged. (Scattered Revelations, December 10)

Britton Gildersleeve grieves for America’s better self, which seems absent recently.

Here is my sincerest hope: that America will wake up, as the founders of our many wisdom traditions did. That we live the kindness, the wisdom, the respect & compassion at the heart of each of our spiritual centres.That we find within our American history not bloodthirsty fear and hatred (there’s been plenty of that), but instead turn to the hope of that loveliest of American symbols, the welcoming bright light of the Statue of Liberty.

And let us work hard so that this dark night of the American soul passes. Soon. (Beginner’s Heart, December 10)

The Rev. Diane Dowgiert offers a prayer of lament for the state of the world.

Dear God, may the truth of our lamentations lead us through the ashes of despair and into the promise of hope. May we be called once again to the hearth of community where the fire of commitment to our common covenant of love and service burns steady, bright, and true. (Transforming Times, December 8)

On the raw edge of winter

Tina Porter shares a holiday message from God, delivered by “Harold” the angel.

You are loved!

Now act like it.

Okay,” Harold added. “That last part

was from me.” (Ugly Pies, December 9)

The Rev. Erica Baron tells a solstice tale of two siblings, Light and Darkness.

The myths, legends, and stories of the Winter Solstice that I found were all about the rebirth of the light. So, I went to stories about the Summer Solstice. Those, I found, are also a celebration of light. Where could one go for a story about the gifts of darkness? (Nature’s Path, December 4)

For Claire Curole, this time of year is a gift—and a struggle; its raw edge reveals imperfect beauty.

I am susceptible to depression at the best of times; when the cold rain and darkness and frantic busyness of the holiday season and end of the semester crowd the boundaries of my reflection time, it takes more vigilance than usual to keep the soul-sucking monster at bay. I’m not sure I’m winning. I feel scraped thin, fragile, insufficient, unworthy. Exhausted.

Okay then. So, that’s what it is: this thinnest ice, with brittle edges, only just starting to form on still ponds and reeds in the crisp of the black pre-dawn. I try to remember the beauty in fragility, the tenderness of one snowflake caught on a loose thread of a glove, the glitter of low-angled sun on ice after a storm. Surely those are real things that I have seen. But sometimes I feel as stiff and brittle as the first sharp raw edge of winter. (Sand Hill Diary, December 10)

The Rev. Dr. Victoria Weinstein offers an Advent reflection for clergy, about personal emotional style.

We’re stretched. People are stretched thin to the breaking point.

So you, dear colleague, do what it takes to keep flexible and stretchy, warmed up and bendy and bouncy. . . .

Show up fierce, brave, loving, strong and put together. Make sure it’s not an act. Do what you need to do to assure that it is not an act, is what I’m saying. (Beauty Tips for Ministers, December 5)

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