Interdependent Web: By faith made strong, in the company of heroes, doing the work of love

Interdependent Web: By faith made strong, in the company of heroes, doing the work of love

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


By faith made strong

The Rev. Jordinn Nelson Long writes that Unitarian Universalist faith is not neutral; it doesn’t “listen to the other side” when the other side is xenophobic, misogynistic, racist, and hateful.

[What] we center ourselves around is not anything that happens to be convenient, nor empty space, nor ethical relativism.

We center ourselves around principles and also around a heritage. Those have always endeavored to call us into something more fully in keeping with God by any name I know it, and into what is also more beautifully human. . . .

Let’s keep thinking/feeling/being together, while holding the challenge of the idea that sometimes the largest love means saying “No.” (Facebook, January 25)

The Rev. Amy Zucker Morgenstern’s faith and life experience has made her an outspoken critic of the gun industry.

After the Benton murders, as always, there are people pleading with the president or the NRA to say something. This is counterproductive, because if the NRA or Trump offer any policy solution, it is always in the vein of “More guns in the hands of more people.” And along with them, hundreds of internet commenters emerge like worms after rain to claim that the problem is not enough guns.

I am sick of our treating these claims as if they have a shred of evidence to back them up. “More guns” is no more a strategy for reducing gun deaths than “Pray to the Tooth Fairy.” If it were, I would support it. (Sermons in Stones, January 24)

For the Rev. Myke Johnson, beauty is an important part of our life’s purpose.

Beauty has something to teach us about how to work for justice as well. To express and celebrate beauty is to turn our attention away from the ugly hatefulness we deplore, toward acts of creating what we aspire to. This is why I love permaculture and solar panels and work parties and gardens. We are bringing into being the wholeness we hope for. (Finding Our Way, January 23)

The Rev. Dan Schatz watches an old dogwood tree, looking for signs of spring.

Winter will be a long time yet.
More snows will come,
and ice
and cold
and April will seem distant.

Do not be afraid.

Hope will
push through
frozen ground,
and forever. (The Song and the Sigh, January 23)

In the company of heroes

The Rev. Erika Hewitt found energy to continue the fight, watching Judge Rosemarie Aquilina hear the testimony of more than one hundred gymnasts sexually assaulted by their team doctor..

Yes, we have compassion fatigue. But there are shining leaders out there doing their work, which mends and restores human brokenness, and they invite us to keep on keeping on. Don’t give up, friends: please don’t stop resisting. (Facebook, January 25)

The Rev. Dr. Victoria Weinstein prays for the young women assaulted—and for the perpetrator, and for those who were complicit in the ongoing abuse.

May those girls, those young women, be knit together body and soul by time and by justice and by truth-telling. May they flourish. May they feel fiercely powerful forever. May they have joy and strength in all aspects of their being. May they be loved and be able to love, and to trust. May they support each other, and be supported. May their example encourage more truth telling and justice, and may the perpetrators feel the full force of their crimes down deep in their souls, may they repent, may they shed tears and spend many sleepless nights contemplating and repenting of what they have done. (Facebook, January 24)

After spending time in Africa, Liz James attended a recent women’s march, where the first speaker spoke about “the plight of women in Africa.”

I’ve always thought of . . . [African women] as powerless, desperately waiting for us to come help. But they have not been waiting. They have not been powerless. They have taken what they have and fought hard with it. They have been strategizing and building.

And we will not “come for them”. We will come to join them on a journey that is already well underway, to play the small part where we’re needed.

And yes, they are victims. But you wouldn't know it from spending time with them.

Spending time with them feels like you are in the company of heroes. (Facebook, January 22)

The Trump conundrum

Liz James also writes that she went to rural Africa in part to avoid American politics.

I felt that in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by mud huts would finally be where news of Donald Trump could not reach me.

For the first week, I knew the utter bliss of being surrounded exclusively by people who couldn’t care less about that guy.

The second week, I started hearing Swahili phrases punctuated with the word “sh*thole”.

It was so strange to read about that description while surrounded with the reality of Maasai Mara. Laughing women, hanging brightly coloured laundry in the sun, as kids played at their feet. (Liz James Writes, January 19)

The Rev. Adam Dyer asks, “What if Donald Trump is like a modern day Martin Luther?”

I’m convinced that Donald Trump is not a President whose term will simply end in a few years. There is no solution to Donald Trump because like the fire ignited by Martin Luther, Trump is the symptom of a deeper social trouble and not the trouble itself. (Spirituwellness, January 24)

Doing the work of love

Many UUs mourned the news this week that writer Ursula Le Guin had died. The Rev. Ian Riddell was among them.

Her influence on my theology and understanding of human nature and ethics and responsibility is deep – and often I can’t name where it comes from directly. But if I speak of living with uncertainty, or the necessity of doing the work of love, or of elevating relationship above principle, I know that Le Guin is not very deep under the surface. (Facebook, January 24)