Interdependent Web: Religion of the heart

Interdependent Web: Religion of the heart

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


Religion of the heart

Andrew Hidas writes about the Rev. William Barber’s “ancient progressive religion of the heart.”

What Reverend Barber reminded us of so powerfully last week was the heft and endurance of religion based in love and forbearance, compassion and sacrifice. He reminded us that everyone has a stake in those sensibilities winning out in the cultural wars that have marked this era, oh hell, that have marked every era down through history, which is nothing so much as a relentless, dynamic dance between conserving and propagating life-affirming traditions of the past and forging fearlessly ahead in an open and liberal embrace of the future. (Traversing, August 1)

The Rev. David Pyle believes that the “emotional nature of humanity is far more powerful than our reason, and what reason we have is in service to it.”

We are each a mix of emotions that swirl about and synchronize together in ways that can draw us together or push us apart. Our rationalizations are designed to prevent us from having to engage directly at the level of these emotions, because they are so often painful, and we have been acclimatized to avoid emotional pain. Our rationalizations have prevented us from understanding not only our own emotional selves, but made us afraid of the emotions within us. And this is a recipe for someone who is either emotionally smart or cunning to manipulate us by the powerful inner forces we have devalued and forgotten how to even see. (Celestial Lands, August 1)

John Beckett tells us that the savior we hope for“isn’t coming.”

The longing for a savior is a natural response to a situation that overwhelms us. We know we can’t fix racism, homophobia, transphobia, misogyny, and xenophobia. We know we can’t fix an economic system that serves the very rich at the expense of everyone else. We know we can’t fix those who would kill or enslave us for their own twisted reasons. We can’t, but maybe someone else can. Surely anyone running for President on a major party ticket is super-smart, super-strong, and super-powerful and can do all those things we can’t do.

They can’t. See Reagan, Clinton, Obama, Sanders, and Francis.

We have to save ourselves. (Under the Ancient Oaks, August 1)

Cruelty, civility, complexity

The Rev. John Morehouse admires the “grace and grit” of Ghazala and Khizr Kahn, and finds Donald Trump’s cruelty repellant.

Even more egregious is Trump’s insensitivity to grief itself. I admire the grit it took for two grieving parents to stand before a nation and proclaim the right of Muslim Americans to exist. Their cost was ultimate but it reflected the immense contributions of Muslims across our country. Most of the Muslims I know are “all in”. Many of whom we meet everyday; scientists, teachers, social workers, religious leaders, friends and colleagues. Trump’s attacks are not only cruel, they are racist in the largest sense of that word. (Facing Grace, July 31)

The Rev. Lois Van Leer reminds us that this election desperately needs civil voices.

I find myself asking, “How should we speak or act in a way that does not further polarize but rather brings persons to the table to find common ground or a common way? How do we participate in this cultural and moral war without it degenerating into a violence of words and actions? How can we insist on and model civility in public discourse? Are we willing to go the distance and stay in conversation and relationship with those on opposite political sides of us?” (Woodinville UU Church, July 29)

Suzyn Smith Webb would like to hear a sermon about a complex political figure from the past: Susan B. Anthony.

I don't necessarily want to hear that sermon before election day, because I don't want to raise the spectre of Hillary Clinton's fondness for the suffragettes. I don't want to hear about Susan B. Anthony as a metaphor for Hillary.

I want to hear about Anthony herself, her flaws and the proper way to look at her and the way she and the suffragettes achieved the just result using some terrible methods. (The Chaliceblog, August 1)

Fringe religion

Mainstream religion doesn’t fit Christine Organ’s family, but the “fringe religion” of Unitarian Universalism does.

Aside from my own beliefs or non-beliefs, I knew that I wanted to raise my children with something — but what? I wanted to provide my children with a spiritual foundation — but how? And I wanted our family to be part of a spiritual community that fostered a sense of the divine, without sacrificing knowledge and authenticity. But did something like that even exist?

For a while, I doubted that a church like that was out there. But for the past decade, I’ve realized that this fringe religion with a mouthful of a name is a perfect fit for our family. . . . My ever-evolving (albeit non-Christian) beliefs can coexist right alongside my husband’s humanist beliefs, and our children learn the importance of being spiritual without being told how to be spiritual. In other words, it’s kind of like how people say they’re “spiritual but not religious,” except that, well, it is a religion. (Scary Mommy, July 30)

Sarah Scheidt, a non-UU Christian, learns important lessons about love while serving as a fill-in counselor at a UU camp.

I think there’s this unspoken rule that you have to tell people if you disagree with them. I had a lot of different ideas than the people who I was friends with at camp, but love wasn’t one of them. At the end of the day, is it more important that they know I disagree with them about who God is or is it more important that they know that I love them? Better yet, that God loves them? (Odyssey, August 1)