Interdependent Web: Not done with God yet

Interdependent Web: Not done with God yet

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


Not done with God yet

The Rev. Brian Chenowith argues that as long as there are people who worship a vengeful God, Unitarian Universalists need to be able to articulate a Universalist vision of God.

We are not done with God because there are still people whose dignity and worth are at stake. The fires of hell still need to be put out, the angry gods of fundamentalism still need to be quietened, and the world still needs hope. The old debates can continue but it doesn’t mean we are isolated from the realities people are still living. God is a thing…at least for now. What can we do to invite people to no longer be in fear? (As Above, So Below, April 5)

Adam Gonnerman, a Humanist and relatively new UU, writes about the hope he sees for humanism in the UUA.

What I love about UUism is what turns many Humanists off of it. There is room in this movement for a variety of voices and viewpoints. There are things that I want to do within the realm of Post-Theistic Christianity that I could never fully develop within Ethical Culture or Sunday Assembly, but which would go right along with the overall UU ethos. Further, in UU congregations, interfaith families find common ground for celebration, mourning and service. There is much to love and admire here! (Adam Gonnerman, April 6)

The Rev. Dr. David Breeden counters the prevalent belief that humanists lack humility.

Most of humankind no longer lives in the environment for which we evolved. We have adapted somewhat, but we are, as it were, always fish out of water. Our attempts to understand the cosmos have run up against the fact that the cosmos—if it has any meaning or purpose at all—has no meaning or purpose comprehensible to human beings. Humanists are not terrified—or even worried—about this, however, and we certainly don’t have the big head about it. It is, rather, a source of awe and wonder. (Quest for Meaning, April 7)

The Rev. Tony McNeile shares a personal statement of faith.

You cannot tell me there is no God. Not my bible God but another one, a spirit God, of Gaia, the earth. Many a time I have walked with my God. Sometimes with elation, my heart singing and toneless words coming out of my mouth. (Nature’s Path, April 5)

Hope, despair, and hard work

Karen G. Johnston shares an antidote to despair—seeking out the stories of “people who behave magnificently.”

[It’s] essential to know that there are other people around who have done amazing things and who are doing amazing, life-affirming, peace-generating, progressive-infused things to make the world a better place, a more just place, a place in the process of true and eventual liberation. It is essential to know their names, to know their stories, to pass on the good news of their lives that we might be consoled and inspired. (Awake and Witness, April 5)

Doug Muder explores the legal strategies of HB2, North Carolina’s recent “bathroom bill.”

HB2’s authors did something clever: Unlike Amendment 2, the law doesn’t actually mention the people it targets. HB2 is in two parts. The part that got all the publicity was about bathrooms: It doesn’t say anything about transgender people, it just says you can only use the bathroom that corresponds to the gender on your birth certificate.

The other part makes it impossible for a city to pass any kind of LGBT non-discrimination ordinance, but it does so without mentioning LGBT people. Ostensibly, this part of HB2 isn’t about sex or gender at all; it’s about creating a uniform business climate across the state, so that prospective employers have only one set of rules to deal with. (The Weekly Sift, April 4)

The Rev. Madelyn Campbell argues that it doesn’t really matter, in the end, what methods the state uses to execute prisoners.

When we kill people, we are diminished. J.K. Rowling has told us that this is how we create horcruxes—we divide our own souls. And we have done something irreversible. We cannot say “I’m sorry” and make it all better. It doesn’t matter how we do it. We can give people teddy bears and tuck them in and kill them in their sleep, and they will still be dead. And we will still be responsible. (The Widow’s Mite-y Blog, April 7)

The Rev. Tom Schade interprets recent data about UU political affiliations.

I may be wrong, but I don’t think that the 84% UU identification with the Democratic Party is really based on a commitment to the Party itself. I think it’s anti-conservatism at work.

We are growing into the full meaning of our theological commitments. The evidence that we are gathering at one end of the political spectrum in a country polarizing over fundamental differences is a result of, and a sign of, that growth. (The Lively Tradition, April 6)

Perspectives on ministry

The Rev. Dr. Victoria Weinstein receives a letter from activists, thanking her and other clergy for serving as “God’s wall of protection.”

Sometimes, when I think about dyeing my hair entirely robin’s egg blue because it’s so cool, I think about how often I am called upon to stand in the place of confronting empire, and I just know deep down that it is incredibly easy to write me off as “alternative” (artsy, naive, flaky, powerless) if I do that.

So I stick with pearl earrings and a chignon and a black suit and a pointy wedge shoe and a wool overcoat partly so I can look across the divide at those guys in uniform and fix them with a steady gaze and know that when they look back at me, the first thing they will see is my eyes, and my collar, and not my hair.

This is a choice I make. In these times, it seems more and more important that I dress in a way that indicates equal status with those in power. (Beauty Tips for Ministers, April 5)

The Rev. Ken Collier rejects the common notion that the UU Ministers Association serves as a “union for clergy.”

What would happen if, instead of stepping up as an opponent, we were to step up as partners, both of our boards of trustees and of our workers? What would happen if we were to create relationships using all the skills and authority we have in virtue of our education, status, and calling as ministers? What would happen if we were to build bridges rather than walls? (The Colliery, April 6)

The power of place

Singing “Morning Has Broken” sparks fond memories for the Rev. Lois Van Leer of a teenage summer spent with the Iona Community. (Woodinville UU Church, March 31)

On the plane home from India, Andrew Hidas begins an account of what he experienced there. (Traversing, April 5)