Interdependent Web: Inclusive futures, the happiness lie, tapping transformation

Interdependent Web: Inclusive futures, the happiness lie, tapping transformation

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


Inclusive futures

The Rev. Theresa Soto objects to people with disabilities being portrayed as monsters.

It is possible for us, together, to keep shifting frameworks that devalue other people’s human experiences, so that if someone should become disabled, whether by accident, chronic condition, or some other intense experience of having a human body, the future that awaits them doesn’t require them to struggle or do everything the hardest way possible. I imagine supportive, inclusive futures. They start with metaphors that do better than use disability as a cheap metaphor for monstrosity. (Medium, April 2)

On Transgender Day of Visibility, Alex Kapitan celebrates “the infinite manifestations of gender.”

I see you. . . . You who are visible (for so many different reasons) and you who are not (for so many different reasons). I see you. You are holy, and whole, and real. (Facebook, March 31)

The happiness lie

Kim Hampton asks how many UU congregations help congregants find peace with their religious past.

[This] cannot be done willy-nilly. This is hard work.

So many of the problems that are manifesting themselves in Unitarian Universalism right now are occurring because we are not acknowledging the trauma (in all its forms), helping those who are traumatized come to terms with the trauma, and move forward in a trauma-informed way. Nothing will change until this changes. (East of Midnight, April 2)

The Rev. Joanna Fontaine Crawford reminds us that disappointment is normal—and what matters is how we deal with it.

There are many ways to deal with disappointment, and each situation will warrant a different response, based on your personal guiding principles. . . .

Taking the time to discern what is the right response for you opens up the opportunity for personal growth. The goal is to make a decision based not on your feelings, but on your guiding principles. Who do you want to be in this situation? (Boots and Blessings, April 3)

The Rev. Robin Bartlett shares something written by her favorite theologian—her husband, Andy Linscott.

You were born into a culture that hemorrhages loneliness but fears community. A culture that craves “meaning,” but is allergic to depth. We fear these things because of the attention and discomfort and commitment and patience that they require of us. And we are inundated with bright screens that demand none of these things but promise bright flashes of human connection and sharp jolts of laughter and entertainment—and they leave us restless and searching and numb.

The Christian church is a means of guarding (us) against that Great Lie which our culture relentlessly feeds us: that the purpose and meaning of human life is to be happy. (Facebook, March 30)

Paying attention

The Rev. Dawn Cooley challenges would-be white allies to pay attention.

I had no idea when turning it on that this new production of Jesus Christ Superstar would be an allegory for what it means to be a Black man in the United States in 2018.

#JesusChristSuperstarLive used an old story to offer a new challenge to those of us who wish to be White allies: Pay attention, and then go educate ourselves on how systemic racism and white supremacy culture are alive in the United States today, so that we might be a part of the solution. (Speaking of, April 4)

Doug Muder explains why the right attacks victims.

At its root, conservative policy is about giving the powerful even more power. So, by its nature, conservatism is constantly producing victims. . . .

To be a conservative at all, you have to live in denial of all this: There are no victims. . . . The basic pattern—denial leads to anger leads to striking back at victims—is human. You can find examples of it across the political spectrum. But denial is much more central to conservatism than to liberalism. So victim-bashing has to be at the center of nearly every issue. When that rhetorical tool is taken away, or made counterproductive, they feel disarmed. (The Weekly Sift, April 2)

Tapping transformation

Karen Hering compares human transformation to the long process of making maple syrup.

We make [transformation] out as requiring such great effort—or such unspeakable miracle—that it can seem rare or unattainable. But as every child and parent knows, transformation is as common as a growth chart taped to the wall and marked with a new line every month. Even as adults, we replace our skin cells every 35 days and our blood every 120. In ways both literal and figurative, I am not the same person I was just a year ago.
Transformation, generally speaking, is also neutral. Despite the hint of heresy this carries in a culture enamored by progress and its onward and upward mythology, not all transformation is desirable. (Karen Hering, April 4)

The Rev. Dr. Carl Gregg writes about the changes Christianity has experienced over its long history—not just in numbers of adherents, but also in its very nature.

[To] what extent is the Christianity practiced . . . by Paul of Tarsus in the first century, Emperor Constantine in the fourth century, and in much of the United States today meaningfully connected to the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth? After all, it is quite striking that the Nicene Creed—written at the Council of Nicea in 325 CE and presided over by Emperor Constantine himself . . . . skips straight from Jesus’ birth to his death—as if all that mattered was that he was born, that he was killed, and that he was said to rise again. (Carl Gregg, April 4)

The Rev. Adam Dyer imagines a radical transformation for the United States.

In truth, we live in a Leaning Tower of Pisa. The United States, like the tower, is beautiful, but also like the tower, the foundation is unsound. We continue to prop it up and attempt to find solutions to keep its imbalanced and unstable structure reaching toward the sky. . . . the bells of freedom cannot ring in this nation as long as we are so desperately out of balance. (spirituwellness, April 5)