Interdependent Web: A weird thing called hope, a wonderful world, Antifa, and more

Interdependent Web: A weird thing called hope, a wonderful world, Antifa, and more

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


A weird thing called hope

When tens of thousands of Boston-area residents showed up on short notice to fight white supremacy, Carey McDonald felt a lifting of his spirits.

I’m having a weird experience this weekend. I think it’s called “hope.”

It feels like something is finally cracking open in this country’s collective awareness. The heaviness of the last seven days, the blood and brutality of Charlottesville and the emboldening of white supremacy, have been the high price. Why haven’t woes of other Augusts, like the one when Mike Brown lay in the streets, had the same effect? I can’t say. Maybe we’re just ready now. But something is shifting. We’re connecting the dots between the single, tragic stories and the systemic, savage oppression that causes them. (Facebook, August 19)

Kari Kopnick had a similar experience during a march in Laguna Beach, California.

As we made the final turn off the Pacific Coast Highway turning toward the beautiful Pacific Ocean we were met by the crowd of people. Tears poured down my face. I came ready to face fists or spitting-mad white men in riot gear, ready to face pepper spray or even a deranged man in a car. But I was met with a crowd of my friends and neighbors saying “NO MORE!”

The official count put the “America First” rally at about 50 participants. Our side? 2,500. (Kari Kopnick, August 24)

A wonderful world

The Rev. Dan Harper shared three views of this week’s eclipse—high-frequency wavelengths, visible wavelengths, and his own emotional response

At about 10:20, when the eclipse was at its greatest extent, it was noticeably dimmer than it should have been. The light was about as bright as it would be around sunset — the difference being that the sun was high in the sky, so the shadows were short. It definitely felt a little eerie.

But mostly what I felt was a sense of wonder. This was the most astronomical fun I’ve had since watching the transit of Venus a few years ago. (Yet Another Unitarian Universalist, August 21)

The Rev. Meredith Garmon reported a similar sense of wonder.

Imagine the Earth scaled to a one-inch diameter. The moon would then have a quarter-inch diameter and it would be two-and-a-half feet away from the Earth. The sun would be nine feet in diameter and nearly two-tenths of a mile away. For two and a half minutes, the moon’s quarter-inch disk precisely fit over the sun’s 9-foot disk. A couple Unitarians, a handful of Hasids, and a whole passel of Baptists stood in dim, platinum-tinted awe beneath a fiery, hollowed-out corona—on a tiny hill on the inch-wide planet we share. For a time—and the fading sense of it lingers with me still—we knew where we were, and who we were. (The Liberal Pulpit, August 24)

No need for alteration

A sign on the bus introduced the Rev. Amy Zucker Morgenstern’s young daughter to the idea that not all eyebrows are “socially approved.”

She was surprised at first to hear that some eyebrows are widely considered in need of alteration, and wanted to know what kind.

“Oh, if they’re too thick,” I said, “or meet in the middle.”

“But then they’d look like Frida Kahlo!” she exclaimed. The implication was clearly What could be cooler, and I agreed, silently giving thanks for a brilliant obsessive self-portraitist who saw no reason to pretend her eyebrows were other than they were. (Mookie’s Mama, August 23)

What to make of Antifa

Until recently, Doug Muder “held the standard establishment view of the anti-fascist group Antifa.” Reports of what happened in Charlottesville shifted his perspective.

[Here’s] how it looks to me: Antifa is based on an anarchist worldview, in which state institutions like the police are not to be trusted. When that assumption is false—when, say, organizers and police have made a plan for an orderly, peaceful demonstration and that plan is flowing smoothly—then having Antifa show up can be a real nuisance.

But when that assumption is true, and the police are not going to protect you from right-wing violence, then it’s good to have some “robust community defense” around.

So if you’re disturbed by the rise of Antifa—whether you’re a conservative worried about leftist violence, a local government trying to maintain order, or a liberal group hoping to protest peacefully—the long-term way to shrink their numbers is clear: Don’t create the conditions that make them right. (The Weekly Sift, August 21)

Tending an abandoned garden

The Rev. Cynthia Cain was asked to help tend the garden of a Mexican immigrant picked up by ICE.

The garden’s owner is a man who has been a part of our community for eleven years, and he’s the husband of a good friend, a friend who probably saved my son’s life with a phone call. She is very dear to me, and we are currently working together to start a Black History Society in the county we live in. Her husband, Benjamin Valdez, is from Mexico, and despite the fact that his paperwork for a green card is almost complete, he is in custody after being picked up by ICE over a week ago. (A Jersey Girl in Kentucky, August 18)

A new blog

The Rev. Audette Fulbright invites others to join her in traveling “Reverence Road.”

I’ve been calling my journey “Reverence Road” for some time now. It captures the sense of what I feel I’m up to: traveling, trying to figure things out, and working hard to remember to find the wonder in what’s around us. For me, reverence is the road . . . but I’ve also felt a bit lonely on the path. I’m hoping to turn a corner here, and see if maybe some of us can go together. Kindred spirits, maybe. Soulmates. Pals. (Reverence Road, August 20)