Interdependent Web: Difficult questions, hunger and thirst, a blogging life

Interdependent Web: Difficult questions, hunger and thirst, a blogging life

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


Difficult questions

The Rev. Dennis McCarty struggles with difficult questions about a bully who tormented him in high school, as he recognizes the bully’s fear in a sophomore yearbook photo.

I remember playing touch football in gym, . . . how richly he seemed to enjoy getting me down and grinding my face into the mud when the coach wasn’t watching. Conscious memory has faded over the years, but my amygdala keeps track. Now I look at his photo and feel a twinge of curiosity, even compassion. What’s that scared kid in the photo thinking? Why did he have to take it out on me? (Thoughts from a Gentle Atheist, September 6)

For Kari Kopnick, being a mother was all she wanted, but now that her children have grown she wonders who she is.

Women . . . learn to become a mother or become a whatever-our-career-is-person, We learn to become a wife and become an activist and become an advocate. And then, sometimes, those things go away. Then, what are we?

That's been my question. What am I? . . . What to do with my remaining years? And just who the hell am I supposed to be? (Chalice Spark, September 7)

Adam Gonnerman responds to a recent UU World article in which the author admits that she and her husband (both atheists) worry about their children learning theism in a UU congregation.

Insisting that my children not believe in any gods feels to me just as controlling as insisting they affirm a specific creed about a deity. Why shouldn’t they have the same freedom I want for myself? Yes, I attempt to guide them, but with a gentle hand. If I can raise my children into ethical, reasonable adults, I think I will have done pretty well. For them to be Humanists would be icing on the cake. (Adam Gonnerman, September 1)

Pilgrims and heroes

The Rev. Peter Boulatta explores the metaphor of pilgrimage.

We are all longing to come home to our best and most authentic selves. Finding our way as pilgrims we are gifted with inspiration and longing and adventurousness, direction and orientation, pathways and routes to walk to which we are committed. We are gifted with travel companions, who lift you up when you fall, who egg you on when you falter, and to whom you can be a companion, offering your guidance and help along the way. Our faith communities, at their best, provide us with a context in which we are challenged, edified, encouraged and in which we challenge, edify, and encourage others. (Held in the Light, September 7)

Jacqueline Wolven shares some of her heroes, beginning with a childhood hero, Leonardo Da Vinci, who still inspires her.

What I get out of him NOW is much different. HE is who I focus on when I am overwhelmed by the things everyone else are doing and are so much better than I am. He is my check balance to FOMO and COMPARISON. Why? Because he did his own thing, kept his head down and was consumed by his own passions. THAT is power. That is energy. That is getting shit done. Sure, he might have popped his head up every now and then to see what that other guy was doing, but honestly he had so much of his own creativity to serve that I’m doubting he was checking Instagram on the daily (or whatever that was in his time). THAT is inspiration for ME to put my head into my own stuff and churn it out. Head down, Jacqueline. (Do Good Work, September 7)

Hunger and thirst

The Rev. Dan Schatz writes that yes, America does need more taco trucks.

We also need more Asian festivals, more pow-wows, more African American poetry, more old time fiddle music, hip hop and banghra, more mosques and temples and gurdwaras, more Humanist societies, more diverse churches of every stripe. We need more libraries filled with books by every kind of author. We need real community shared with thoughtful neighbors of every political persuasion. We have moved beyond the old idea of a melting pot, in which each of our cultures loses its distinctiveness; instead we are a tapestry, woven together by our connections and conversations. We are better when we are not all the same. (The Song and the Sigh, September 3)

Inspired by the festival of Mabon, and by an Indigo Girls song, the Rev. Erica Baron explores the paradoxes of a quenched thirst, and an unquenchable thirst.

May your body and your spirit always have what they need. When you are in need of refreshment, or new life, may the waters be available to you. May you never know thirst unto death, in your body or in your soul. May you never thirst.

And may your body and your spirit always thirst enough to stay alive. May you know the dissatisfaction with things as they are that leads to work for justice. May you know the thirst for new knowledge that leads to the quest for truth. May you know the desire for deeper connection that creates new and stronger relationships. May you know the spiritual thirst that keeps the soul searching, and gives the sweetness of new discovery to faithful followers of spiritual paths of all kinds.

May you never thirst too deeply, but may your thirst never be entirely quenched. (Nature’s Path, September 2)

Losing it over Kaepernick

As a military chaplain who refrains from expressing private opinions while in uniform, the Rev. Jake Morrill weighs on opinions expressed publicly by uniformed police in response to Colin Kaepernick.

The idea of people in uniform using, or withholding, their Constitutionally-derived power to influence the personnel decisions of a privately-owned business, and to punish a private citizen, outside of any due process (or even crime), is un-American. I assume the members of the police union have superiors who'll remind them of the responsibility they agreed to when they accepted the privilege, the risk, and the honorable vocation of law enforcement. I understand their vehement disagreement, as private citizens, with Kaepernick's choice. Out of uniform, they have the same rights everyone else does—they can yammer on Facebook like this; they can go to protests, or whatever. But in uniform? Their authority comes with special responsibility, to each and every one of "We the People of the United States," who live under the Constitution, "in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity." (Facebook, September 3)

Chris Crass urges us to help white people truly lose it over Colin Kaepernick’s refusal to stand for the national anthem.

Let #ISitWithColin become a rallying cry in white communities to help as many white people as possible see that the national anthem is a racist celebration of a ruling class that thrives off all of our misery. Yes, we are sitting in solidarity to end anti-Black racism and police violence, and we are sitting, because it’s time to rise, and all get free! (The Cauldron, September 2)

A blogging life

For those of you interested in the history of UU blogging, as told by one long-term blogger, check out the Rev. James Ford’s recounting of his ten years writing Monkey Mind. (Monkey Mind, September 5)