Interdependent Web: No religion, no political party

Interdependent Web: No religion, no political party

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


No religion, no political party

Andrew Hidas draws a connection between decreasing religious affiliation, and decreasing political affiliation.

[It] gives an indication, I suspect, of how sick unto death our young people—but not exclusively young people—are becoming at the nonsensical, irrelevant, shrilly partisan dogmas spouting from the lecterns of our politicians, and, looping back to the rise of nones, from too many pulpits in the land, as designated representatives of dogmas and creeds reveal themselves to be increasingly tired and untenable in modern pluralistic societies. (Traversing, March 6)

Peak Trump?

John Beckett shares nine reasons why he’s not moving to Canada if Trump wins.

I’m not in much danger. I’m not an immigrant or a Muslim. I’m a straight, white, middle class man. The only way I’m likely to run afoul of the Trump Brownshirts (other than writing posts like this, which I absolutely plan to continue) is my religion, and that can be camouflaged if it’s necessary to protect my life and property.

Is that privilege? You better believe it is. And with privilege comes the responsibility to use it to make the world a better place. That means that if I’m wrong and the country really does go to hell, I need to be one of the last ones out, not one of the first. (Under the Ancient Oaks, March 8)

Doug Muder believes “Peak Trump” may be occurring—thanks to opponents finally finding the right strategy.

The right response to a Trump supporter isn’t to show fear or get angry or paternalistically explain what the facts actually are or how the world really works. The right response is pity: You poor sucker.

Identifying with Donald Trump isn’t making his fans look strong. It’s showing everybody just how weak and foolish they are. This obvious flim-flam man has taken advantage of their insecurities, and is conning them the way he has conned so many people like them in the past.

Those poor suckers. They think Trump is standing up for them. But nobody is laughing at them harder than he is. (The Weekly Sift, March 7)

Family stories

The Rev. Catharine Clarenbach is glad that her brother was never particularly religious, after learning that a priest in her childhood parish allegedly molested altar boys.

Boys who were acolytes and choristers and students at the parish school . . . they were groomed for what happened to them. They could not give consent. They were children. To all public appearances, they seemed to be treated well. They were given favors. They were spoken to in conspiratorial tones. They were fondled, abused, assaulted in the confessional.

The confessional.

If you have never been Catholic, you may not understand the level of this violation. They were abused doing their duties to God and parish as acolytes in the vestry and behind the wall where the instruments of their service are kept. (The Way of the River, March 8)

A writing assignment prompts Kari Kopnick to think about her foremothers.

My path follows the dear worn way of my foremothers and it goes so much further. It’s almost like I have a secret jetpack that allows me to walk and walk and then when faced with a cliff I don’t have to soldier on as best I can. I have a new path, but not really. I have the “leap” button on the path, maybe that’s it. I have more powers. (Chalice Spark, March 9)

Pagan practice

The Rev. Brian Chenowith enjoys learning about new-to-him Pagan traditions through the CUUPS group in the congregation he serves.

I often feel like, as Unitarian Universalists, that we’re “good” when it comes to Christianity, Hinduism, Judaism, Buddhism, Atheism, and other larger, more public traditions. But with Paganism and its many variations, there is a discomfort. Perhaps it is because Paganism often interests people that are not “mainstream” (and we are still a tradition that likes the mainstream), or maybe it’s because as Unitarians, more than one god or goddess causes an inherited awkwardness. But what I’ve found as one who was raised in a pagan-friendly home in a pagan-affirming church, is that there is just as much flexibility in engaging these traditions, such as Asatru, as we’ve found in Christianity or Buddhism. (As Above, So Below, March 4)

Liz Fisher’s earth-centered spirituality calls her “to notice and respond to events in the cosmos.”

Eclipses are when the moon’s influence on my psyche is intensified. The moon is cyclical, teaching that there are right times for everything. Increased emotional responses often occur during eclipse seasons. This eclipse period is potentially when we can make a great leap forward. New beginnings require appropriate endings, however. Something usually has to be removed to give room for the new. (Nature’s Path, March 7)

Puppy dogs and romance novels

The Rev. Dawn Cooley is surprised by a new spiritual practice—reading happy-ending romance novels.

I am drawn to novels where the world threatened to turn into a dystopia, but where the heroes (of all genders) rescue not just the world, but in the process rescue one another. In the end, love wins. Every time. Guaranteed.

Now, I know love doesn’t usually win on its own in real life. I know that only when many of us put our hands onto the moral arc of the universe will it eventually bend toward justice. But in my grief, I needed to be reminded of how things might look, how love can save us—collectively and individually. And romance novels provided just that. (Speaking of, March 4)

The Rev. Dr. Victoria Weinstein and her beagle, Max, learn lessons about authority, forgiveness, and love.

I said, “Listen, I knew you weren’t going to bite me. I knew it. But you can’t even pretend. That’s not okay.” And he said, “Bones love food warm lady snacks bone feelings warm lady smells love happiness snacks safety.” His tail went thump thump thump.

Then we went outside and played catch, and he caught the squeaky ball and ran and ran and ran wild circles of ecstasy around the muddy yard. (Peacebang, March 5)