Interdependent Web: Kindness, wholeness, proximity

Interdependent Web: Kindness, wholeness, proximity

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


Close enough to tell us apart

Kenny Wiley writes that UUs like to make heroes of people of color.

Someone is a shero for the way they tri-moderated, or co-presidented, or co-led a teach in, or led work in some other way. We are lauded, and (over?)praised, and all the while, some people can’t tell us apart. . . .

People thank heroes, and then cheer them on from afar. That’s not what’s needed. Get proximate to the struggles. Move beyond making sheroes and theroes and heroes. Don’t keep your distance from us, or from the work. You might get close enough to tell us apart. (Facebook, June 27)

Kim Hampton was mistaken for several other black UU women at this year’s UUA General Assembly.

There are a number of beautiful Black women in the UU-universe. (If I looked one-tenth as good as these women, I would be doing alright.) GA is not a meeting of the National Baptist Convention or the AMEs, it is a meeting of Unitarian Universalists; so while there are more UUs of color in one place than most UUs are used to seeing, there is no reason that any of us should be confused with each other. . . .

What does this mean?

I don’t really know. It does make me wonder how much progress we will make as long as all the UU women of color are interchangeable in the minds of most white UUs. (East of Midnight, June 28)

Words matter

The Rev. Lynn Ungar asks for conversation about how to navigate language and embodiment.

When you say “we stand” for or with something the fact of the matter is that some of us don’t physically stand up, and so are not included. But here is where my questions come. Because we all of us have bodies, much of our metaphorical language and our strong verbs have to do with bodies. And pretty much anything that bodies do, some bodies don’t. So is the goal to eliminate every kind of language that metaphorically refers to our bodies doing things?

For instance, we changed “Standing on the Side of Love” because of that issue. But when you sing the song, the second line continues “hands joined together.” Some people don’t have hands. Is it ableist to talk about joining hands? Should we not sing “We Are Climbing Jacob’s Ladder” because many people don’t climb ladders? Is it uninclusive to sing “We Are Swimming to the Other Side” when a large number of us don’t swim? (Facebook, June 29)

Doug Muder believes that the time has come for Democrats to forcefully turn the page on fading Republican rhetoric.

Democrats can’t shy away from conservative rhetoric, and we can’t hope that it will just slip people’s minds if we change the subject by presenting our own solutions. We have to confront it directly: We’ve been living in a conservative era for nearly 40 years, and that is what has destroyed the middle class.

That central point needs to be backed up with direct rejections of conservative nostrums: You can’t cut your way to prosperity. Nobody succeeds in a failing community. Money isn’t speech. Fear creates violence, and cruelty will always rebound; more prisons won’t make you safe, and more invasions will just cause more terrorism. More freedom for the rich and strong means more servitude for the poor and weak. The free market destroys the middle class. The environment is economic; we are part of Nature, and if we destroy Nature we destroy ourselves. (The Weekly Sift, June 26)

The Rev. Tom Schade supports adding an eighth principle, one that makes explicit our commitment to anti-oppression, to the seven that UU congregations covenant to affirm and promote.

To bring anti-oppression to the Principles identifies what opposes our sunny view. We are stepping beyond the “We Good; They must be Bad” world of the Principles. We say that Oppressive Systems are what opposes the Principles, and we acknowledge, because we are talking about systems, that we are implicated in them as well. We are all implicated in the oppressive systems that rule our world, different only in angle and degree. (the lively tradition, June 27)

The Rev. Ken Beldon asks for more mindful use of certain words, and one word in particular; his objection is to the mindless use of the word addict, as in “I am a gardening addict.”

But that’s not an addiction. That’s not feeling you’ve lost all choice in the matter doing this thing you’re doing even though it brings pain, harm, and chaos to yourself and others, that you may desperately want to stop, but you’re not sure if you can, or how you can, and that makes you feel like utter shit about yourself and separates you from what and who you love, and that soul-deep scares you that you might never find a way back to those things. (Facebook, June 27)

A plea for kindness

Cindy Beal asks UUs to be kind to UUA staff, recognizing that this has been a difficult year for them, culminating with two staffers being assaulted in New Orleans during General Assembly.

I want to ask that for just one week, no one call the staff to tell them how wrong they are about safe congregations policies, or why our congregations’ numbers were reflected inaccurately somewhere, or how it’s not fair that we did not get a personal note about a change that was in regional newsletters or the UU World or press releases or blog posts. That no one go online to engage in a big argument about what language we should use for a thing, or fighting about which social ill has to take priority. While these things are part and parcel of the work of our faith, our online temperature has been going up radically these past couple months, and even more these last couple weeks. (Facebook, June 26)

Already part of the whole

The Rev. Sean Dennison shares his thoughts about “improvising faith off the binary.”

I have chosen a life of improvisation, of flow, of making it up as I go along, of following a call from Love that will not let me go, even though there was no space for me, no place. . . .

Stepping off the binary is entering a place, a moment, a song where I am no longer forced to be divided, no longer asked again and again to explain, but already a part of the song, already a part of the flow, already a part of the whole. (Facebook, June 24)