Interdependent Web: We have work to do together, and thoughts and prayers are not enough

Interdependent Web: We have work to do together, and thoughts and prayers are not enough

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


We have work to do together

The Rev. Erik Walker Wikstrom’s congregation canceled an anniversary celebration when their Director of Administration and Finance, UUA board member Christina Rivera, received an anonymous, racist note.

Simply, how could we sit around together, eating cake, when something like this happened within, and from within, the very community we were to be celebrating? The celebration has not been canceled, but it has been postponed, because congregational leadership recognized that what we really needed at this time was an honest look at what happened, and what it says about our community. (A Minister’s Musings, March 1)

Thomas Earthman gives voice to the conundrum many justice-seeking, straight white men find themselves in.

I refuse to be part of going backwards. We can either reinforce the systems that protect privilege of people like myself, or we can do away with them so that the best people rise to the top regardless of the circumstances of their birth. The only way it truly gets better is to elevate those other voices, first, so that they are ultimately heard. (I Am UU, February 26)

The Rev. Denis McCarty reflects on the role of white liberals in a system of white supremacy.

I watch people of color within the Unitarian Universalist Association raise their voices. They more often meet resistance, sometimes ugly resistance, than attempts to actually understand. I won’t even say I’m greatly different than any other white liberal. But every time I mess up—and such times are legion—I do put some effort into listening, trying to understand just how I messed up. I can only hope that’s a beginning. (Denis McCarty, February 26)

After yet another viewing of Black Panther, Kim Hampton celebrates the movie's “Black Black Blackity Black Joy.”

Black Panther is a movie with a Black protagonist that isn’t about U.S. chattel slavery, the modern-era Civil Rights Movement, or some magical Negro who saves the day for white people.

Black Panther is a movie in which ALL of the main characters are Black and nobody is a drug addict, a pimp/prostitute, an incarcerated person, a formerly incarcerated person, a con artist, or any other stereotype that America has perpetuated for time immemorial. . . .

In short, Black Panther is Black people being able to be Black without the white gaze. (East of Midnight, February 26)

Thoughts and prayers are not enough

The Rev. Chris Buice’s congregation recently raised a banner proclaiming that “thoughts and prayers are not enough,” and held a vigil with the same theme.

In recent days, we’ve been inspired by the leadership of the young. . . .

Where elders have been cautious, the young have been brave.

Where elders have been silent, the young are speaking out.

Where the elders are sitting still, the young are walking out.

Where elders have been evasive, the young have been clear.

Where elders have been bought and paid for, the young have reminded us we still live in a free country.

We may not be able to agree on everything but surely we can agree that thoughts and prayers are not enough. Faith without works is dead. (The Tao of Tennessee, February 27)

When NPR spends hours discussing the merits of arming teachers, the Rev. Sarah Gibb Millspaugh finds herself wanting to throw her radio through the window.

I want to be talking about how to reduce violence in our country. About how to stop teaching our children toxic forms of masculinity, about how to stop vilifying and dehumanizing one another. I want to be talking about disrupting the systems of oppression, promoting an ethic of caring interrelationship, teaching one another how to calm down and use our words. I want to be talking about how we share our national wealth to ensure that everyone has access to good health care and good schools, not to mention a safe home with clean water and food on the table. I want to talk about stopping gun violence against *all* our children, and all God’s children, not just the white and relatively affluent. (Facebook, February 24)

Canadian Liz James writes about the fear she feels when she travels to the United States.

Now, I don’t want to imply that there is no crime in Canada. . . . But we aren’t afraid the same way.

You know the feeling when you go to a tropical country and as you’re getting off the plane the humidity hits you like a wave and your face gets damp and you think “even my skin knows that I’m in a different place?”

That’s what it feels like, for me, when I cross the border. My pores feel the fear the way they feel changes in humidity. Fear of violence, fear of losing your job and your health care, fear of homelessness . . . and fear of guns. (Liz James Writes, February 28)

The Rev. Lynn Ungar has a modest proposal: that “guns should universally be traded in for musical instruments.”

Imagine if a person filled with grief and rage busted into a high school multi-purpose room and banged out Tchaikovsky on the piano. Imagine if rather than defending “Southern gun culture” we promoted the rich musical tradition of the American South. Imagine if the young man who felt offended because women ignored him learned to play bass and started a rock band. Imagine if the people who have powerful guns because they enjoy them got their thrills from the tuba or the trumpet instead. (Facebook, February 25)