A story of theological struggle
The Rev. Dr. Carl Gregg recommends the Netflix movie Come Sunday, saying that “the real reason to watch . . . is the theological struggle.”
At the beginning of the movie, Bishop Carlton Pearson is a wildly successful megachurch pastor with the promise of much more growth, fame, and fortune to come. But the story quickly moves to his crisis of faith in which he finds himself asking how God could damn anyone to eternal torment in hell for what at most could be finite sins during one’s comparatively short life on this earth. He comes to think, “that God is a monster worse than Hitler and Saddam Hussein.” (Carl Gregg, April 12)
It depends on us
Doug Muder writes that this year is a crucial one that will determine how much of the damage from Trump’s presidency is permanent.
Long term, both parties need to figure out how to strengthen the norms of forbearance and tolerance, which were in trouble long before Trump arrived on the scene. Unless we can re-establish them, getting past Trump will not solve our problems. His failure, if it happens, might simply be a training example for new and better demagogues. (The Weekly Sift, April 9)
The Rev. Peggy Clarke reports that her son’s elementary school had to keep the students inside because of toxic gases released from a nearby fracked-gas pipeline.
I pray for the day enough of us are ready to stand up to our elected officials to tell them to stop this mania, for the day when we agree to remove the blindfolds that keep us safely in denial and take the social risk of being angry. . . . Our unwillingness to rock the boat, to call attention to the danger of the status quo is putting us all in serious danger. (Facebook, April 12)
We are ecosystems
The Rev. Dan Harper wonders how we define humanity when research estimates that about only 40% of our cells carry our DNA (the rest is bacteria, viruses, fungi, etc.).
This would imply that to be an embodied human means, not that you are a solitary organism, but rather you are an ecosystem. In fact, the boundaries of your ecosystem may be less well defined than you have thought. Indeed, the latest thinking in medical science is that we might want to begin monitoring the information stored in the DNA of all those organisms. (Yet Another Unitarian Universalist, April 10)
Who’s your Watcher?
The Rev. Joanna Fontaine Crawford draws a lesson about interdependence from Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
I am a huge proponent of having a Watcher. Maybe yours is a systems coach, or a spiritual director, or a therapist. But it's a person with some expertise who partners with you to help you become the best You you can be. And holds you accountable for doing your own work.
It's kind of funny. At the beginning of every Buffy episode, a voice intones, In every generation there is a chosen one. She alone will stand against the vampires, the demons, and the forces of darkness. She is the slayer. But the whole show is a refutation of that. Buffy has friends and a Watcher to make sure she doesn't stand alone. (Boots and Blessings, April 10)
Sharing the planet
Tina Porter suggests that, in a world of hurt, maybe the one thing we can do is pay attention to what people are asking for.
[O]ne friend who posted about grieving started by saying she didn’t want advice on how to grieve. I loved that she just stated it, but I hate that she had to.. . .
Because we want to be heard. Not to be told how to be better, but be heard and be seen in the skin that we’re in.
Nothing is more important than that, and nothing is more important than finally being able to say: I can’t hide this anymore and I need you to love me anyway. That’s vulnerability reaching out for radical love. (Tina L. Porter, April 9)
Liz James writes about “knowledgeable Garoos” who cannot let wrongness sit uncorrected.
In my family, there is this unique phenomenon that looks like masculine teen chest beating, but involves asking things like “Hey, do you know what the atomic weight of Hydrogen is?”
A closely related and equally delightful thing is the correcting of facts, including facts that definitely don’t need to be corrected. I used to think this was also posturing, but I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s actually about not being able to just let the wrongness sit uncorrected.
When my dad would do this, my mom would say “Lee! Quit being the knowledgeable guru!!!”
My mother, unfortunately for my dad’s ulcer, would always—very unintentionally—pronounce guru wrong. (Liz James Writes, April 7)
The Rev. Dr. Victoria Weinstein offers advice to ministerial candidates presented with grueling candidating week schedules.
This is an opportunity for you to find out what kind of relationship the congregation wants to have with their minister: collaborative and considerate, spiritually mature, supportive? Or resentful and demanding, with grumbling when you suggest reasonable alternatives to an unrealistic, barely survivable schedule? (Beauty Tips for Ministers, April 10)