Interdependent Web: My breath comes like hot fire, mourning loss of life, helping the world get better

Interdependent Web: My breath comes like hot fire, mourning loss of life, helping the world get better

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


My breath comes like hot fire

The Rev. Beth Johnson acknowledges the rage that comes from trauma experienced again, and again, and again.

I want to invite you to breathe with me, but I had been barely breathing myself for a little over a week, and now my breath comes like a hot fire of sadness and rage at yet again the latest gun horror that will yet again be dismissed and explained away—the lone white gunman whom everyone is shocked to find has committed this terrible terrorist act, and yet again the narrative will not include shock or disgust or commitment to act in the face of open carry and an arsenal of weapons. (Facebook, October 2)

The Rev. Lynn Ungar writes that she is tired of praying.

Whoever hears my prayers,
it is not the murdered, the flooded,
the victims of fire and famine and war.
No praying unless accompanied by
food or water or a casserole or a hug. (Facebook, October 4)

Like many others, the Rev. John Cullinan is disgusted by “thoughts and prayers” offered by politicians who refuse to take meaningful action to prevent gun violence.

Once again, I’m scraping wax off the floor of my church from all the candles we’ve burned, mourning the loss of life and the fact that your “thoughts and prayers” have failed to prevent another tragedy. But, unlike others, I’m not going to ask you to stop praying. Because I don’t believe you ever really started. (Your Life is a Gospel, October 3)

Kim Mason knows firsthand what the aftermath of gun violence looks like—and is tired of picking up the pieces.

I’ve spent the past I don’t know how many years offering sad and comforting pastoral responses to mass shootings. I’m over it. I know you are too. And so one of the best things I am learning in this seminary process is that sometimes righteous anger is also a pastoral response. Y’all, I am done with sad platitudes. I will comfort the afflicted, I will hold the heart of those for whom each new shooting causes flashbacks and fear. But the rest of y’all, it’s time to get uncomfortable. (Facebook, October 2)

Mourning loss of life

When there is a shooting, Liz James watches for the story of the mother.

Today, I am picturing a 90-year-old woman in the last years of her life, eyes filling with image after image of mangled bodies.

I imagine her entire motherhood blown away—the way she carefully toweled off his baby toes after a bath so he would be dry and comfy as he drifted off to sleep. Or maybe the way she stood in the doorway and watched him create wild and delightful worlds out of legos, silently trying to memorize the moment to keep it forever. His life, hers, and their life together all swallowed by whatever break or brainwashing or illness or addiction it was that rotted her son and made him into a killer. (Liz James Writes, October 2)

The Rev. Sharon Wylie shares what she’s learned about grief.

As Unitarian Universalists, we know that loss is part of life. That life is often unfair. Often painful. We do not expect everything to be easy and good all the time. That doesn’t mean we don’t have questions or doubts. But it does mean that loss doesn’t necessarily threaten our understanding of how the world works. . . . Painfully, loss is part of life. Not only that, but loss is part of love. . . .

We grieve because we were lucky enough to love. Lucky enough to hope. To dream. We had joy. Connection. And eventually, sometimes, if we’re lucky again, we find comfort in the memory of that love, that hope, that dream. (Ministry in Steel Toe Shoes, September 29)

Helping the world get better

The Rev. Linda Hart says that, in times of chaos, staying sane starts with taking whatever small actions we can to help the world get better.

Climate chaos, our political system in chaos, and the usual bumps and bruises of life and feel overwhelming. It is essential for all of us to take those moments to act, to hold on to hope and to take good care of ourselves and others these days. (Tahoma UU, October 5)

The Rev. Amy Shaw writes that gun culture is a disease, an infection, and a self-fulfilling prophecy.

The 2nd Amendment was designed at a time when guns were different, really different, and when people were already trained on their use.

It was written at a time when laws were simpler, and when going to war meant a land war on your own soil. It was written at a time when the military was much, much smaller.

And it was written at a time when you could kill someone seen as being without value, and face few consequences.

It’s time to root out this infection. (Facebook, October 3)

The Rev. Jordinn Nelson Long suggests an easy, practical way to make a difference.

An invitation for those who are so moved: make your own meme. Tell us who you are, and declare yourself. Tell us you want #GunControlNow. If you’re willing to set the post to “public,” do it. Let’s light it up on Facebook. (Facebook, October 2)