Interdependent Web: Rush to judgment

Interdependent Web: Rush to judgment

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


Rush to judgment

Among several UU responses to this week’s tragedy at the Cincinnati zoo, Liz James urged us not to be quick to judge parents.

The world is not made of “good parents” and “bad parents” nearly so much as it is made of “good days” and “bad days”. This is why it takes a village to raise a child.

I want my parenting to be intertwined with the parenting of others, because I am considerably better at some parts of this job than I am at other parts, and I know that none of us will be successful on our own. An atmosphere of evaluating one anothers’ parenting makes us all worse off. It leads to isolation and defensiveness. It keeps people from asking for help when they need it.

Let’s be villages to one another. Not judge and jury. (Facebook, May 31)

The Rev. Dr. Victoria Weinstein takes an opposing view on the controversy.

No use telling folks it's not right to judge. These crises and conversations are one of the key ways we figure out our values as a society. We judge and we figure out where we're at. Were the parents remiss? I think they probably were, but the more important issue is how often ALL of us are distracted. (Facebook, June 2)

The Rev. Diane Dowgiert’s post about the tragedy was widely shared on Facebook.

I am the person that rushes to judgment and finds some comfort in assigning blame.

I am the person that must live in this world where there are no easy answers, where people just like me are called to respond to circumstances that I have only visited in my worst nightmares.

I am the person that finds within myself a capacity for compassion and an embrace for ambiguity that stretches me into the fullness of what it means to be human. (Transforming Times, May 31)

The challenge to be great

Doug Muder reminds us that this election is about the country, not the candidates.

That’s why I think it’s important, both in our own minds and in our interactions with each other, to keep pulling the discussion back to us and our country. The flaws and foibles and gaffes and strategies of the candidates are shiny objects that can be hard to ignore, and Trump in particular is unusually gifted at drawing attention. But the government of the United States is supposed to be “of the People, by the People, and for the People”. It’s supposed to be about us, not about them. . . .

So let’s back away from the addictive soap opera of the candidates and try to refocus on the questions this election really ought to be about. (The Weekly Sift, May 30)

The Rev. Jim Foti writes about a certain red hat, and its slogan, “Make America Great Again.”

The truth is I’m actually 75 percent in agreement with the original hat. The first three words, “Make America Great,” are something I can get behind. We should all work to make the whole world great, and greatness itself is not a bad thing.

The problem is that conversations about America’s greatness can deteriorate very quickly, such as when we label ourselves as “the greatest nation on earth.” Any country’s assertion of superiority or supremacy is dangerous, misguided, zero-sum tribalism. And by many measures of human well-being, America’s “greatest” status is demonstrably untrue. (Jim Foti, May 30)

Colleen Thoele shares a driveway with her new neighbor—and builds a relationship on that common ground, despite significant differences.

We don't have to hide ourselves from each other and fear hard conversations. She already knows I'm a hippy tree hugging liberal and I already know she is a religious conservative. Our respective rage faces are finally put away. Its a relief.

We found the common ground. We both love our kids. We both have a desire to be kind. We both do what we think is best for our families.

And while the initial uncomfortable-ness was, well, uncomfortable, its all good. Our kids play. We talk. We laugh. We share food. And little by little we learn more about each other.

All because we share the driveway. (The Family Pants, June 1)

Family lessons

The Rev. Liz Stevens shares a few of the lessons she learned from her father’s death, including one about forgiveness.

It’s no secret that my Dad struggled in his life and in his relationships. Alcoholism eroded him over time, carving away his physical, emotional and spiritual health little by little.  His inner core of self-loathing led him to lash out at the people who loved him most. All of his children bear emotional scars from his abuse, and some of us carry physical scars as well. One path to forgiveness involves the one who caused harm accepting responsibility for their actions. That path wasn’t open to us with Dad. He never admitted he was an alcoholic. He never apologized. However, in recent months, I discovered a different path to forgiveness. It might not have worked if I hadn’t spent a fair amount of time in therapy, but somehow, seeing him vulnerable and afraid as he neared the end of his life woke up a deep compassion that allowed me to forgive him unconditionally. I understood that the pain he caused grew out of his own scars. I came to believe that he did the best he could. My heart broke for him, enabling deep healing. (revehstevens, May 20)

The Rev. Lynn Ungar offers her graduating daughter last-minute advice about life as an adult.

You are going to screw up. That’s not an insult; it’s just a statement of fact. Everyone does. So get good at apologizing. . . .

Other people are going to screw up. Badly. This can make you lose your faith in humanity if your faith in humanity is based on believing that people will do the right thing. You get to choose whether and when you will forgive. Just remember that there are other states of mind that are a lot more enjoyable than feeling pissy. (Quest for Meaning, June 2)

“Atheist Engineer” explains the simple reason why his family attends a UU fellowship.

This is how I inoculate my children against the glittering false promise of eternal life and the frightening empty threat of eternal torture. (Medium, May 26)

Spirals, spirituality, sexuality

Claire Curole is coming to terms with the loose spiral of how she moves through life.

I am learning to accept that this is just how I get things done; that the fluid mosaic of a pebble beach is also a legitimate way of being earth. We are not all granite monoliths nor need we be. We are not all straight timber but winding vines and swaying grasses also have worth. It goes deeper than not needing to be perfect; I am beginning to sense – if not to grasp – that the aggregate of countless imperfections is far greater, more beautiful, more resilient, more holy than any single perfect whole. (The Sand Hill Diary, June 1)

For the Rev. Catharine Clarenbach, spirituality and sexuality are inextricably linked.

Spirituality is just as variable as sexuality. And the two are so often related. I cannot pick them apart, myself. I cannot tear them one from the other. I cannot undo the threads that have come together so intricately in my life.

When I look at someone I love and whom I find sexually appealing, a great deal of me is engaged. At some times in my life, love hasn’t even been part of the equation.

But awe has. (The Way of the River, June 2)