Interdependent Web: Being alive is enough, clothed in humility, practicing kindness and tolerance

Interdependent Web: Being alive is enough, clothed in humility, practicing kindness and tolerance

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


Being alive is enough

Noticing a blaze of color in the early morning sky, Vanessa Southern prays for time to breathe.

Let me be quiet and kneeling in this temporary cathedral in time,
to worship
even just the gift of breath.
Then in that inhale and letting go
may I find my way to back
to that which leads quietly, faithfully on
through every beat and breath of life. (Medium, 1.28.19)

Barbara Stevens reflects on the blessings and pain of boredom.

We all get bored at one time or another. It’s nothing to be ashamed of, nor does it mean we’re lazy or dull. Learn to tolerate boredom. Manage the emotions that arise when we’re bored. Be interested in your experience, observe the emotions, then let them go. As one experience arises and fades away, another will take its place, life will go on, and you might find you don’t need to bungee jump or smoke pot or fly to the moon to escape boredom. Just being alive will be enough. (Universalist Recovery Church, 1.27.19)

Clothed in humility

Ron, a CLF member incarcerated in Texas, describes the relationship between humility and hubris.

Shedding hubris and becoming more clothed in humility, getting over ourselves for a better self, begins, ironically, with the stance that we take toward ourselves. To move beyond, we move into. If we rarely or ever truly question our life’s actions and inactions, isolating our inner selves from the influences and sight of others, then we have already given our selves over to hubris. Whatever we attain as a result will have diseased roots and will be short-lived. (Worthy Now, 1.29.19)

Joanna Fontaine Crawford comments on an article about clergy fatigue shared widely by her colleagues in ministry.

Is the work of ministry hard? Yes . . . but I don't do it alone. If I'm stressed about something going on at church, there are church leaders who are stressing out right along with me. We talk openly about our struggles, in healthy ways. . . .

I serve with a loving community chock-full of people doing ministry in so many ways, and not just within our own walls. As the "called" minister, yes, there are certain things that fall just to me, and certain pastoral pieces that no one will ever know about.

But I serve with this congregation. We are doing significant ministry together. And I am not alone. (Facebook, 1.27.19)

For more of Joanna’s thoughts, listen to a podcasted conversation hosted by Kimberly Debus. (The Worship Whisperer, 1.24.19)

Practicing kindness and tolerance

Doug Muder writes that “ Democracy can’t go on like this forever.”

Eventually, some leader will get elected on an openly anti-democratic platform, arguing that our constitutional system is too cumbersome to work any more. Once he gets into office, he’ll provoke an extortion crisis as a way of proving his point: How can we support a system of government that allows stuff like this to happen? Are we willing to stand by while the country falls apart, or do we want the leader to declare a national emergency, abolish Congress, and make things work again?

The way out of that scenario is for the public to re-establish the norm that extortion is not legitimate. The right way to make change is to assemble a majority, and any leader who offers a short-cut around that process — even to get something we think we want — deserves our scorn. (The Weekly Sift, 1.28.19)

Noticing how much effort people put into changing other people’s thoughts, Lynn Ungar asks:

Might it not be more efficient to try to change people's behavior (which we know a great deal about how to do) in hopes that it would lead to a change in their thinking? (Facebook, 1.29.19)

James Ford marks the anniversary of the Edict of Toleration.

Embracing a broad stance of tolerance doesn’t let us off the hook of being responsible for our actions within a diverse and often conflicting culture. But, the standard shifts from only our perspective to something that allows us all a place.

Looking for a baseline, something we have as a right to because we breathe air? Tolerance is pretty darned good. Especially when we look at what the alternatives usually are. And, kindness, well that’s what tolerance looks like when it is alive and real. (Monkey Mind, 1/28/19)

Justin Almeida describes a theology of resiliency.

[It] is only through my actions that good, or love, or justice, or mercy, will ever take place in the world. . . . My actions exist as a sacrament: an outward symbol of an inward grace. . . . A theology of resilience recognizes the worth and dignity of all, inspires empathetic action in the face of suffering, and is grounded in the psychospiritual power found in all creatures of symbol and creativity that will benevolence into existence. (Necessary But Not Sufficient, 1.29.19)

Dan Harper writes about deities with non-binary gender.

What I find particularly interesting is that non-binary gender plays out in many different ways in these various myths and religious narratives. I want to say that there is a spectrum of gender choices, but I think saying that imposes my early twenty-first century Western cultural framework on other cultures. Better to say that gender has been interpreted in many ways in different religious traditions. (Yet Another Unitarian Universalist, 1.30.19)