Interdependent Web: Do more than vote

Interdependent Web: Do more than vote

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


Do more than vote

The Rev. Lois Van Leer reminds us that we need to “do more than vote.”

This is no time to withdraw from a system from a lack of belief or trust in it or to make a statement. Others will rush in to fill the participation vacuum, skewing election outcomes. This is the year to make our system be accountable by engaging with it. The depth of what is at stake this election season is tremendous, far reaching, and long lasting.

Engage, educate, get out the vote, and vote. (Woodinville UU Church, May 13)

Andrew Hidas reviews President Obama’s recent commencement speech at Howard University.

Work, don’t whine.

Organize, don’t demonize.

Shoulder the burden of your intelligence and inheritance, make the most of the responsibility they confer upon you.

“Get into the head” of those who seem worlds away, who occupy foreign ground, whose desires and expressions may conflict markedly with your own.

It’s a typically broad-minded paean to true liberalism, requiring qualities of character and forbearance not widely on display in these bellicose times. Which makes it all the more relevant and important for a class that is marching off to new ventures just as this president of tireless moral vision and dogged, patient hope is preparing to do the same. (Traversing, May 15)

Building bridges

Thinking back on a particularly successful ceremony she created for a religiously diverse group, the Rev. Catharine Clarenbach asks, “Why did it work?”

Because it was healing. It took places that were rent apart and knit them together. It took places that were wounded and healed them.

It gave people a way to look into their own hearts and find that Spirit would meet them, heal them, and love them. And that Spirit could appear even in guises that had been used to be hurtful in the past. (Nature’s Path, May 18)

The Rev. Amy Beltaine notes that Pagan UUs may have a unique opportunity to help UUs “dis-spell the prosperity gospel,” because they tend to be intentionally less well off than many other UUs.

This suggests four things to me: 1) CUUPS may have a role in educating congregations to be welcoming to income-diverse people. 2) We need to pay attention to how class and means are at play when we find ourselves in conflict, and when we work together to be in relationship. 3) We all have work to do to discover and break the spell of the prosperity gospel that equates means with worth, and we can do that together. And 4) As we dive into class dynamics we must be in partnership with people of color and other marginalized groups, groups who often are economically marginalized, recognizing the other dynamics of intersectionality. (Nature’s Path, May 17)

Karen G. Johnston recounts the story of her congregation receiving a moving response to a letter of support they sent to neighboring mosques.

It was an electric moment in the room. Connection had been made real and known. An act of solidarity that was sent out and landed just where it was welcomed and needed. There it was, that interdependent web of our shared existence, showing its poignant, undeniable reality. (Awake and Witness, May 16)

The Rev. Peggy Clarke writes about meeting a Trader Joe’s cashier who is lonely.

She moved to the States a few years ago and knew she'd miss her family, but she hadn't anticipated how distant Americans are with each other. She assumed she'd get to know her neighbors and spend time with her workmates or quickly make friends at church. She was casually pointing out that we have many things here, but community isn't one of them. (Facebook, May 17)

Ministry is complicated

The Rev. Dr. Victoria Weinstein writes that ministers should practice self-care, but not over-indulgence.


My eyes roll back in my head when I hear ministers carrying on about how HARD they work and how MUCH they sacrifice and oh my GOD IT’S NOT ‘NAM.

It is my experience that ministers have such a hard time behaving like ordinary, flawed human beings on a regular basis, they have a poorly calibrated Attitude Balance Mechanism. There is a pernicious expectation MOSTLY PERPETUATED AND ENABLED BY CLERGY THEMSELVES that clergy will be ultra-available and ultra capable of performing at peak awesomeness as spiritual, emotional, professional, counseling, priestly, administrative, justice-making people in every task of ministry, literally 24/7. Because that’s impossible, we have set up Self-Care as the alternative, which is a good and sane thing, but not as an act of defiance. (Beauty Tips for Ministers, May 17)

Liz James details the many forms her non-ordained ministry takes and expresses gratitude to her Facebook community.

In thinking about all these things strung together over the course of a year, I realized that put together they mean something. Just because I have a Lego Job Description with no instructions doesn’t mean what I do is not a Real Thing. And you guys, with your unwavering support and cheekiness and stepping up have been with me for every piece of this. And I am so deeply grateful.

In our family, we call this an “I’m a liver, you’re a kidney” moment. To be different from one another is not to be separate. We can have very distinct roles, and be part of the same whole.

Dear Facebook: Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for helping me discover my inner kidney self. (Facebook, May 17)

Love and inclusion

The Rev. Erika Hewitt responds to the lack of inclusion of LGBT people in the religious tradition of her childhood, the United Methodist Church.

"Love" isn't about scoring a bingo on your piety scorecard. "Love" is about making yourself as uncomfortable as necessary to hear someone's truth about their pain of living on the Outside. "Love" is being brave enough to let them in—or, better yet, relinquishing control of building those walls to begin with.

May every LGBT*Q child, youth, and adult know that you were made, beautiful and beloved, and that you are held fiercely in the embrace of a love that will never surrender. (Facebook, May 15)

The Rev. Thom Belote explains the many reasons why he risked arrest by speaking out against North Carolina’s HB2.

I spoke out because I could. As a white, straight, male, cis-gender, able-bodied, economically-secure, educated, English-speaking citizen I have every privilege you could imagine. I spoke out because I am lucky enough to serve a church that is not only cool with me speaking out, but applauds me for doing so. I spoke out because it will be no hassle for me to retain a lawyer, go to court, and abide by whatever comes out of it.

I spoke out because I would want others to fight for me. It’s not enough to say, “There but for the grace of God go I.” We have to make ourselves an instrument of God’s grace. (RevThom, May 18)