Interdependent Web: Deconstructing oppression, thresholds of change, and more

Interdependent Web: Deconstructing oppression, thresholds of change, and more

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


Deconstructing oppression

The Rev. Dan Harper addressed the problem of patriarchy, still alive and well in the UUA.

Patriarchy within the UUA has not died. Nor is it in its death throes, nor is it even in the process of dying. All these years I’ve been going to political rallies and hearing people assert that all oppressions are linked. So guess what: patriarchy and white supremacy are linked. We cannot talk about one without talking about the other.

. . . . Sunday school enrollment has been dropping because in the UUA as a whole, and in most individual congregations, when money gets tight we pull resources away from children and youth ministry so that we adequately pay the patriarchal positions — the president of the UUA, the senior denominational positions, the parish minister. (Yet Another Unitarian Universalist, June 7)

The Rev. Karen Hering attended a ceremony deconstructing an art installation—one that painfully reminded the Dakota people of a mass execution in 1862.

The body’s memory goes back generations, old traumas and the fear they generate are among our inheritances—and our legacies. The construction workers who volunteered for this task of deconstruction mount the stairs, chainsaws in hand; I’m told they are descendants of the 38 Dakota men hanged on its rickety, more hastily built archetype in 1862. Do the hearts of these men today, just six generations later, quake as they climb the scaffold? Will the protection of the ceremony that has just blessed them hold to the end of their task and beyond as they return home? . . .

We have all been commissioned. The deconstruction of oppression, starting with the scaffolds in our own hearts, is calling. It is truly sacred work, softening the hardened heart and dismantling the platforms of hatred within us and in the world we have built and rebuild together every day. (Karen Hering, June 7)

The Rev. Theresa Soto urged the UUA not to move too quickly to the “inherent worth of every being,” before we have made better progress recognizing “the inherent worth of every person.”

I can’t say that we are ready as a movement to stop thinking in terms of how every single person, every single kind of person has inherent (built-in, part of their nature) worth (value) and dignity (the right to self-possession). . . . We are still in the process of framing the practices of radical inclusion and welcome as part of who we are. . . .

I’m so tired. I’m tired of easy answers in pluralist practice that don’t show any evidence of fruit. . . . I’m asking you not to change the First Principle to “being” because we have not yet fulfilled the mandate of our moral imperative when it comes to people. We are not yet mostly reliable for a universal welcome that respects and includes the differences represented by disabilities. (Medium, June 5)

All in the same blue boat

The Rev. Peggy Clarke found a silver lining in Trump’s rejection of the Paris Agreement.

When Trump made it clear he would not be lifting a finger toward those goals, the rest of the country kicked into gear. To be honest, I have more hope for our nation's ability to reach the ambitious goals than I did before the announcement. (Facebook, June 2)

Doug Muder provided a helpful metaphor that explains the Paris Agreement.

So if we’re going to help the public resist Trump’s disinformation campaign, what we really need is not more detailed analysis from experts in international law or economics or climatology. We need a simple example from everyday life that helps people understand what the Paris Agreement is and does. In particular, the example needs to demonstrate how a non-binding agreement can be important.

Luckily, I happen to have such an example handy.

The Paris Agreement is a pledge drive. (The Weekly Sift, June 5)

Countering terrorism

Liz James wrote that “The war on terror is not fought by turning refugees away.”

No amount of Islamophobia or “if you had a bowl of skittles and three of them were poisonous, would you eat the skittles” closing of borders is going to help. Because we all know that people are not skittles and a single photo of a three year old boy’s body washed up on a coastline can—rightly—bring a whole country to its knees in grief. . . .

The war on terror begins with the buying and selling of guns. . . . Do not tell me it is hard to tell the poisonous skittles from the good ones. It is easy to find the poisonous skittles. They are buying 110 billion dollars in guns.

It’s easy to find the guy poisoning the skittles, too.

He’s the one selling the 110 billion dollars in guns. (Facebook, June 1)

The Rev. Dr. Victoria Weinstein offered a prayer for London, and all those affected by terrorism.

God be with all who suffer through the sleepless night. May there be miracles that awaken souls that find now meaning only in destruction to other sources of meaning.

May strength and wisdom be with the counter-terrorism forces.

May London stand strong. (Facebook, June 3)

Thresholds of change

Kari Kopnick acknowledged the challenges parents face when their adult children leave home.

The thought of that child stepping out to make their way, which of course has been the path they were on from the first breath, first step, first word, first everything, feels like stepping off a cliff. You’re happy for them, exhilarated with the knowledge that obstacles have been beaten down or maybe sidestepped. Troubles navigated. This is what you wanted; a child who was ready for the next thing, whatever that might be.

But oh God, it’s so hard. (Kari Kopnick, June 5)

The Rev. Jake Morrill celebrated the heroes, ordinary and extraordinary, who participated in a new colleague’s ordination.

[After] thanking her husband, Monica thanked everyone in the congregation who had provided childcare for their daughter as Monica made it through seminary. Looking around at the people who stood or raised their hands to be recognized, I thought about how many people offer themselves like this, as neighbors, as the village, without hope of reward or recognition. So good to be around people with brave and generous hearts. (Facebook, June 4)