Interdependent Web: We’re all human, the courage to speak, the real immigration issue

Interdependent Web: We’re all human, the courage to speak, the real immigration issue

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


We’re all human

The Rev. Dr. Carl Gregg finds, in the humanity of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., incentive for all of us to find our “golden shadow.”

So let us pause in the wake of MLK Weekend to remind ourselves that he was fully human, just like the rest of us. And for those of us who admire him, the invitation is not to revere him as a saint, but to discern the ways that we can, within our own spheres of influence, follow his example. (Carl Gregg, January 18)

The Rev. Meg Riley points out that it’s easier to see the flaws in others, than to see our own.

When I see the way that the Republicans cling to 45s disgusting power rather than claim their humanity, I am reminded of the ways that all of us who are white cling to the belief in white superiority in the face of all evidence against it, rather than reclaiming our own humanity. It takes the self-righteous wind right out of my sails, it breaks my heart, and it renews my commitment to live a life of maladjustment. (Facebook, January 15)

The courage to speak

The Rev. Robin Bartlett and her congregants talk about the courage of those who speak up about their experiences of sexual assault and harassment.

My church has pub theology twice a month. That’s just what it sounds like: we go to a local bar and talk about God. Last month during advent, we studied the angels in our advent texts who say “do not be afraid.” I asked our folks to discuss a time they witnessed someone being “intentionally vulnerable” in a way that was courageous.

One of the groups talked about the #metoo movement: the women (and a few men) who have recently come forward to report sexual harassment and sexual assault by more powerful men in the past months. (Telegram, January 12)

The Rev. Dennis McCarty writes about the complex ways excessive male power plays out—and what a long process changing that is.

On the one hand, there is a real difference between Ansari’s boorish behavior and the serial predation of someone like Matt Lauer. Or Bill Cosby. Or Harvey Weinstein. Or Donald Trump. Or even Al Franken or Garrison Keillor. . . .

On the other hand, his date with “Grace” was also a study in sexual assumptions based in male economic power. We still live in a society where the default assumption is that such “manly” pursuit of sexual contact may be rude as hell. But that the woman’s actions were ambiguous enough, the evening doesn’t come under the umbrella of the law. In other words, we still live in a society where a man of fame, like Ansari, can expect sex on a first date with a star-struck woman, to the point he feels no need to even try to “read” her reaction to his overtures. So that by the next day, I have no doubt she felt genuinely assaulted. While he felt merely puzzled. (Dennis McCarty, January 18)

The real immigration issue

Doug Muder points out the real immigration issue that divides left and right.

One side likes living in a multi-cultural society, and believes that America is stronger because it draws ambitious, freedom-loving people from all over the world.

The other side sees the U.S. as a white, Christian, English-speaking country. They believe we can tolerate and assimilate a certain number of people who don’t fit that description, but beyond a certain point (and we’re getting well beyond it now) we will lose our national identity. (The Weekly Sift, January 15)

Kim Hampton writes that Trump’s comment about “shithole countries” has made too many people reflexively try to argue for their respectability.

Since the news of “shithole countries” has come out, I have watched Haitian Americans, African immigrants, El Salvadorans, and Africans still on the continent trying to prove that their countries are not “shitholes” or that they (and their families) are worthy of being in the United States (or not being looked down on by the United States). And it has made me so heartbroken. . . .

Welcome to the world of respectability politics. . . . Respectability politics puts the onus on those who are oppressed to show that they are worthy of things that are human birthrights. Respectability politics saps the energy for the things that give life. In short, respectability politics are evil. And evil needs to be called out. (East of Midnight, January 16)

The Rev. Amy Zucker Morgenstern shares what scares her most about Trump’s “latest outrage.”

[W]hat’s got me most in a sweat is the evidence that no one, least of all Trump himself, has control over what Trump says and does. (Sermons in Stones, January 12)

Ministerial search and multiple hymnals

Since she’s not in search this year, the Rev. Dr. Victoria shares a lengthy list of recommendations for ministerial search committees.

When it comes to ministerial search, UUs are pretty thoroughly grounded in 19th century mentality and archetypal consciousness. I know this because I have been studying the evolution of American liberal religious clergy archetype for decades (with particular focus on New England Congregationalist traditions, of which we are part) and I can confidently say that while UUs are catching up to the 21st century in some ways, we are very far behind that in terms of ministerial search and call: both the process and the way we evaluate ministers. We know intellectually that ministers have a very different job now than they did at the end of the 19th century, but our hearts and imaginations are still attached to the expectations of yesteryear. (PeaceBang, January 18)

The Rev. Dan Harper happens upon the fact that Unitarians used to have multiple hymnals.

So the vast majority of Unitarian Universalist congregations today use a denominationally-produced hymnal. Why is this? Partly I think it’s because copyright law has become much more strict in the past century; anything published after 1922 is probably covered by copyright, and it can be difficult and expensive to track down copyright owners and buy permission to reprint their text or music; it’s going to take a large-ish organization to have enough resources to deal with copyright challenges. But also I believe we have all bought into the notion that the only “real” hymnal is one published by the denomination. (Yet Another Unitarian Universalist, January 13)