Interdependent Web: Now the hard part starts, showing up and staying, and more

Interdependent Web: Now the hard part starts, showing up and staying, and more

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


Now the hard part starts

As the Rev. Nancy McDonald Ladd left the gym after a strenuous workout, her friend said, “Now the hard part starts.”

This is so true. Exercise for me is less about actual physical fitness than it is about cultivating a sense of my own agency. . . . Where did you feel a sense of your own agency today? How can you keep going back to that source of strength? Where do you go for courage before the hard part starts? (Facebook, September 14)

As part of National Suicide Prevention Month, the Rev. Dan Harper shares key points from Dana Mich’s blog post about learning from her father’s suicide.

Mich points out that “anxiety needs the future,” while on the other hand “depression needs the past”: that is, anxiety is about “fear and lack of control over all that [lies] ahead,” whereas depression is “regret over the things [you] couldn’t go back and change.” Therefore, Mich proposes learning how to “just be.” (Yet Another Unitarian Universalist, September 14)

The Rev. Dr. Carl Gregg considers the toll of toxic masculinity.

[In] far too many cases, all that fake cowboy bravado has prevented many men from being honest about their emotions: their fear, shame, anger, sadness — even their joy. The result has been so much unnecessary harm, damage, and expense to self and others — and loss of opportunities for love and belonging. (Pluralism, Pragmatism, Progressivism, September 13)

An ordinary, beautiful day

Fifteen years after the attacks of September 11, the Rev. Dr. Victoria Weinstein had “an ordinary, beautiful day.”

I went to church. I took my dog to the vet. I breathed fresh air.

They died in smoke and fire. (Facebook, September 11)

Weinstein also writes:

I think it's okay to be haunted by something. Look, it's not going to make anything worse if our thoughts return to some particularly horrific detail in a tragic story to hold in our hands and look at some more. (Facebook, September 11)

The Rev. Vanessa Southern remembers that day, fifteen years ago, as she spends the anniversary experiencing a different kind of grief.

Today was, by contrast, so much deeper a walk through loss. We buried my 87 year old uncle and celebrated his life. . . . [It was a] full life, given up only when the body final fails. We buried him on a warm, humid September day, with blue skies, tossing rose petals, a line from the church to the graveyard outside that seemed never ending. . . .

It was a good way to honor a hard anniversary. (Facebook, September 11)

With or without God

The Rev. Theresa Novak writes of an inclusive, Universalist heaven, saying that “If there is a stairway into heaven, there must be an elevator, too.”

If a God does exist
And I am never quite sure
Then God must be kinder,
Not meaner than most.

We won’t have to crawl
Grovel or whine
We’ll just push the up button
And ride into the clouds
Along with our enemies
Neighbors and friends. (Sermons, Poetry, and Other Musings, September 14)

The Rev. Dr. David Breeden, who serves a humanist UU congregation, responds to a recent article that treats non-theist congregations as a new thing.

Rather than worshiping a “god of many names,” Humanists . . . assemble freely in a religion without gods. To be clear: We are not anti-god. We are without god. Many members of the congregation are theists or searchers or think “there’s something out there.” But we don’t use the god concept as in any way a solution to the darkness and uncertainty of human existence. Humanity is going it alone. (Quest for Meaning, September 15)

Showing up, and staying

At family functions, the Rev. Brian Chenowith is often asked about his work as a UU minister.

“What is the motivation for people in those traditions to become a part of a Unitarian Universalist community?” The question almost stumped me. Not because of the specificity but because I have been wrestling with the wider question of what draws us into the wider UU tradition in the first place. I know all of the stock answers: covenant, community, justice, spiritual depth, intellectual stimulation. But I struggle with the answers that don’t easily come to mind for me: ritual, identity, history, tradition. Being asked what brings a very broadly defined group of people into our communities leaves me wondering. (Nature’s Path, September 12)

The Rev. Lois Van Leer urges UUs to hang in after the honeymoon period of new membership passes.

Every relationship, every person, every community, eventually falls from grace. The honeymoon phase of perfection eventually morphs into the realities of who we all are: flawed, vulnerable, imperfect, beautiful beings worthy of love. So membership means hanging in there in spite of and because of the inevitable ups and downs that we will all experience in community. Membership is a commitment to what is known and a trust or faith in what is not yet known. (Woodinville UU Church, September 15)