Interdependent Web: First things first, the way is always through, and something fun

Interdependent Web: First things first, the way is always through, and something fun

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


First things first

Social media has changed us. Too often, we no longer choose the focus of our attention. To loosely borrow from the Christian scriptures, we must no longer be children, tossed around by every wind of Facebook, by every new tragedy, by every manufactured micro-scandal, by trickery, by craftiness, by deceitful scheming. Listening for and speaking the truth in love, we must grow up, and take charge of our thoughts.

With that in mind, the first post this week is not about Parkland, Florida, but rather about a piece of transformative art—the new Black Panther movie.

Kim Hampton has a series of posts this week about Black Panther, including one that asks, “What would Unitarian Universalism look like if people of color were allowed to write the story of it?”

One of the reasons that Black Panther and Wakanda are such a phenomenon in many circles is because of the story it tells. The story of a people and a land in Africa that was never touched by the “colonizer” (aka white people and white supremacy). The story of a people and a land in Africa that was allowed to developed on its own and to keep its resources. . . .

What would it mean to look at Unitarian Universalism as a colonizer religion? How would that change the story that gets told? (East of Midnight, February 19)

The way is always through

The Rev. Dr. Cynthia Landrum shares how she has been personally and professionally affected by gun violence.

I’m realizing that although I have at least two degrees of separation from any mass shooting, these school shootings and other mass shootings are still something of a trigger for me. It’s at least in part related to the 2013 shooting deaths of Chris Keith and Isaac Miller. Chris Keith was a former member of my church. She and her son Isaac were killed in an act of domestic violence, by her estranged husband. (RevCyn, February 22)

The Rev. Jordinn Nelson Long writes that “These particular teens [in Parkland, Florida,] are not the first people to organize, to collectivize, to loudly and enduringly shout no.”

This is not the first moment that the bloodied and traumatized have spoken up for a new day, have risen boldly to carry a weight that should never have been theirs alone to bear.

This is, in short, not the first moment of the resistance, and our need to pretend that it is is yet another abdication of our own responsibility.

The incredible power that you are seeing now is the articulate determination of people who never should have had to grieve, coupled with THE FIRST MOMENT OF OUR OWN SHARED LISTENING. (Facebook, February 20)

The Rev. Theresa Novak speaks our heart’s longing.

A land of parks is what we need
Flowers and trees
Grass if we can spare the water
Air we can breathe
Sunlight to enjoy
In gun free, hate free zones. (Sermons, Poetry, and Other Musings, February 22)

The Rev. Linda Hart learns lessons about stress, brokenheartedness, and courage while having an echocardiogram.

Our beautiful, amazing world is always broken, it seems. Violence erupts, love dies away from neglect or fury, disease invades. It’s always something. We are here to witness the beauty, to lift up and sing the wonder of it all. We are here to create more wholeness and love, as much as it is in us to make it. . . .

Take courage, friends. Take courage. The way is always through, and we are not alone. (Tahoma UU, February 18)

Not our preacher

Reactions to the death of Billy Graham this week were varied; in my UU-dominated Facebook newsfeed, the reaction was mostly silence, with a few restrained critiques.

Jon Jasper Coffee, whose friend circle includes more admirers of Billy Graham, shared pain felt by many LGBT people.

I know a lot of you love Billy Graham. I just can’t be in that place with y’all.

I grew up gay hearing him speak to people in the churches I called home. Those kind and loving people didn’t know I was gay, and they used his words to advocate violence and hatred towards people like me. (Facebook, February 22)

John Beckett invites us to imagine Graham as a Universalist preacher—as a measure of how he fell short.

Night after night, in city after city, Billy Graham stood in front of thousands of people and told them they were going to hell unless they adopted his religion. He used threats of eternal torment to coerce people into changing their religion, or into increasing their level of commitment to it.

He genuinely believed what he preached. He meant well. But as Graham himself would no doubt admit, good intentions are never enough. (Under the Ancient Oaks, February 21)

And something fun

The Rev. Joanna Fontaine Crawford has fun sharing her discovery that our respected UU forebear, Edward Everett Howe, was a master of snark.

I love finding out that the noble and dignified were very much human, and funny, and gossipy, and the Rev. Hale is today’s example of What, You Thought Your Generation Invented Snark?

Seriously, Dude could have fit in well on RuPaul’s Drag Show and held his own while not holding his tongue. (Boots and Blessings, February 19)