Interdependent Web: Subversive Christmas, my senator my seatmate, why clergy care about guns

Interdependent Web: Subversive Christmas, my senator my seatmate, why clergy care about guns

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

Heather Christensen


Subversive Christmas song

If it were up to Liz James, the winter solstice“would not be about the-sun-is-coming-back.”

The sun does not need us to reach for it, it will come back just fine on its own schedule. And we don’t need us to reach for it, either.

I think maybe what we actually need is to be more . . . awake. More aware of the sweetness you find in the dark. (Liz James Writes, December 21)

The Rev. David Miller writes an annual Christmas poem. This is from the 2017 edition:

’Twas 5 days before Christmas and all through the House,
the tax bill just passed, and leaves me to grouse,
This time of the year, it seems now should bring,
compassion and love, some long needed things. (Facebook, December 20)

For Justin Almeida, the song “Do You Hear What I Hear” is a subversive Christmas song, just right for a world on fire.

It begins with a message whispered from creation to people on the margins: “Do you see what I see?” “Do you hear what I hear?” And then from the margins to the powers that be: “Do you know what I know?” How I long for those of the halls of power to suddenly realize that out in the freezing night, there are children who need silver and gold; who are homeless and hungry and in poverty. For the wealthy to realize that these children will bring goodness and light. For our leaders to announce peace; turning away from greed, racism, and bigotry. (What’s My Age Again, December 18)

Sitting next to my senator, talking about guns

On a flight home after a vigil outside the NRA headquarters, the Rev. Jason Shelton—thanks to Southwest’s seating policy—chose to sit next to his senator, Lamar Alexander, and to engage him in conversation.

We . . . talked about growing up in Tennessee, and having guns and hunters in our families, and not recognizing these weapons of mass death as having anything to do with hunting or self-defense. We talked about elementary school children having lockdown drills, and ministers who show up for the memorial services when our politicians fail us (thanks for that, Chris Buice), and how I pray it will never be my child, or his grandchild, that makes the news in this way.

I don't know if it changed anything, but I believe he listened to me. And I came away with a renewed sense of purpose. (Facebook, December 15)

If you don’t get many opportunities to share a flight with your senators, you might like to read through the Rev. Carmen Emerson’s account of speaking up for what’s right, more than once, while waiting in line at the bank. (Facebook, December 16)

The Rev. Cecilia Kingman acknowledged that many of us feel overwhelming despair and anxiety about what’s happening around us—so overwhelming that we need help to stay in the fight.

Please, those of you who, like me, need medication to keep serious anxiety or depression in check, please take your meds. I will too. And, I will also, in myself and those whom I love, watch for the turn inward and away.

You are needed in this struggle even if you can’t get out of bed some days. You are needed even if you are utterly brokenhearted. In fact, it is from these places that the voice of truth arises. . . . Stay here. Stay with us. (Facebook, December 20)

Clergy care about guns because they perform the funerals

The Rev. Chris Buice, whose congregation experienced gun violence in 2008, posted the words he spoke at the recent interfaith vigil outside the NRA’s headquarters.

You may wonder why the clergy would speak out on this issue. The reason is simple. We are the ones who do the memorial services. We comfort the grieving family. We minister to the traumatized communities. We are the chaplains at the bottom of the hill and that’s why we know we need guard rails at the top. (The Tao of Tennessee, December 16)

The Rev. Amy Shaw writes that the purpose of the vigil was to “send a clear and simple message to the members and leadership of the NRA.”

No more. Not one more. (Enough, oh God, enough.)
We don’t want the version of America you are selling, amen.
We don’t want to live in fear, amen.
We don’t want good guys with guns protecting us from bad guys with guns, amen.
We don’t want bad guys with guns, amen.
We don’t want automatic or semi-automatic weapons in the hands of untrained, unlicensed civilians, amen.
We don’t want murdered children.
Amen. (Facebook, December 16)

Upending conventional thinking about politics

Kim Hampton suggests an alternate way of looking at what happened with black voters in Alabama—and at what’s happening with black leadership in the UUA.

Black people did save with their vote. The people they saved were THEMSELVES. The fact that white people got saved in the process is secondary. . . . Black people in Alabama turned out in larger than expected numbers because they knew they would be the hardest hit if that man won. The man said that America was “great” when we had slavery, after all. . . .

Now . . . what does this have to do with Unitarian Universalism?

All the work that BLUU is doing is about Black people saving their own souls. If, in the process, Unitarian Universalism grows into the religious movement it claims it wants to be, then that’s a bonus. (East of Midnight, December 14)

Doug Muder writes that the disintegration of the Republican Party is something liberals should worry about.

In any particular election, Democrats probably do better against off-the-wall crazy candidates than against mainstream Republicans. And yet, after each such race, the national conversation seems a little crazier. Even in defeat, I’ve come to believe, such candidates pollute our political discourse. After Roy Moore’s loss, will it be easier or harder for Republicans to nominate the next Roy Moore, and maybe even to elect him? I suspect the answer is easier. Crazy ideas seem less crazy the second and third and fourth times you’re asked to take them seriously.

That’s why lately, in spite of the prospects in this election or that one, I’ve been rooting for Republicans to get their act together. The Republic needs a reality-based conservative party, and we haven’t had one for a very long time. (The Weekly Sift, December 18)

Happy holidays! The Interdendent Web is on vacation next week and will be back in the new year.