Interdependent Web: Grieving a colleague, revisionist history, making space

Interdependent Web: Grieving a colleague, revisionist history, making space

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

Kenny Wiley


Grieving a colleague

Many Unitarian Universalists with Texas roots grieved the sudden death of the Rev. Scottie McIntyre Johnson. The Rev. Christian Schmidt wrote on Facebook.

Scottie McIntyre Johnson was among the earliest champions of my ministry. I saw her earlier this month when I had the pleasure of guest preaching at her congregation, and though she wasn’t feeling great, there were few indications she might leave us so soon. (Facebook, October 26)

The Rev. Pamela Wat posted a picture of her and McIntyre Johnson.

As poet Mary Oliver might say of Scottie (if she knew her), she was a bride married to amazement; the bridegroom who took the world into her arms. Rest in peace, dear friend, knowing that you made of your life something particular and real and that a thousand witnesses know that you did so much more than simply visit this world. You are still and always my hero. (Facebook, October 26)

Making space

The Rev. Jordinn Nelson Long asks people to think about the power and privilege they wield based on their identities:

If people are asking you to take a seat and be quiet, here’s a good question to ask yourself—and it’s a spiritual practice, because it depends on connecting your own heart with your own courage in the service of something larger than your lone life: WHERE DO I HOLD POWER (skin color privilege, economic power, positional or relational power, gender privilege, educational privilege, etc.) IN THIS CURRENT SITUATION? How am I more powerful than the person asking me for space? (Facebook, October 26)

Revisionist history

In The Weekly Sift, Doug Muder takes to task White House Chief of Staff John Kelly’s “lying defense of Trump” regarding the Niger operation and the resulting condolence controversy. Among many other criticisms, Muder takes issue with Kelly’s account of the way women used to be treated:

There’s one more part of Kelly’s remarks I can’t let go by:

“You know, when I was a kid growing up, a lot of things were sacred in our country. Women were sacred, looked upon with great honor.”

Kelly and I grew up in the same era. (He’s six years older.) So I can testify that he is totally full of crap on this. Women of our mothers’ generation were shown superficial respect—holding doors for them, etc.—as long as they lived narrowly scripted lives of service to men. But a woman was not honored if she spoke out in public, or entered the workplace, or sought an advanced degree, or decided not to get married, or did anything else outside the script. Quite the opposite. (The Weekly Sift, October 23)

Traveling while black and female

Leslie Mac of the Black Lives of UU organizing collective posted about calls with fellow black women about discrimination faced while traveling by plane or car.

A couple of calls today made me lose my breath thinking about the places & spaces that routinely harm Black Women that white folks navigate carefree. I recall talking with Charlene Carruthers a while back about the “armor we put on when flying while Black.” I remember the pain in Tamika Mallory’s voice as she described what happened to her on a flight recently.

I’m reminded of the trauma Marissa Jenae encountered earlier this year in Orlando at the hands of a racist Uber driver.

Some days I don’t know how we not only make it out of bed but push through and THRIVE. That is #BlackExcellence (Facebook, October 24)

Love and vulnerability

The Rev. Vanessa Rush Southern takes a look at what—and who—matters most in a reflection on vulnerability.

Clearly, vulnerability is part of life — the part we should try hard to protect against and all the parts we cannot protect against. But then there are those last parts, the ones we don’t want to protect against because the price of doing so would be far too high, too dear.

A full life, a joyful one, an awake life, has to dance all the time, by choice, in part, with just how vulnerable we are. (Medium, October 24)

Racial advice should not be free or on demand

Cameron Whitten, a UU young adult based in Portland, Oregon, wrote that he is no longer giving advice or counsel on racism for free to white friends.

I recently announced on Facebook that I am no longer educating white people about racism for free. Regardless, I still have white friends asking me questions/advice on race, so I made this meme as a generic response. (Facebook, October 25)