Interdependent Web: Bright smiles and shiny shoes, the cop who didn't shoot, facts and feelings

Interdependent Web: Bright smiles and shiny shoes, the cop who didn't shoot, facts and feelings

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


Bright smiles and shiny shoes

The Rev. Joanna Fontaine Crawford writes about an unusually welcoming barista.

This guy BEAMED at me like he was just so glad to see me. . . .

So, of course, I’m thinking about church. . . . Because tomorrow, at UU churches across the continent, there’s going to be some parents whose pre-teen just told them he’s gay, and some lonely folks who are looking for a community, and someone who just lost their job, and another person who took the beliefnet test and it came up “Unitarian Universalist.” And they’re going to come in our doors.

This coffee guy actually made me feel LOVED, y’all. In an agape, namaste, “I see you, and you look like good people to me” sort of way. (Facebook, April 21)

The Rev. Dr. Victoria Weinstein reminds us that making an effort with our appearance can be an act of faith—and an important part of our work for justice.

We’re all in pain. Shiny shoes seem a ridiculous concern when ICE is detaining my neighbors with no warning and for no reason. Thinking about my hair and earrings when there has been yet another massacre in a school or on a city street, or Syrian citizens are being gassed by Bashar al-Assad seems ludicrous until I remember what I am called to represent to speak on behalf of, and in what cultural context I have been ordained to do that. Devotion to my God and rage at the desecration of God’s creation and God’s people is sometimes the only force that motivates my depressed body and soul out of bed and into the shower, and then to the iron to press a blouse. Putting on mascara and fixing my stupid, impossible hair can be a faith statement. (Beauty Tips for Ministers, April 24)

Weinstein also encourages us to notice the beautiful and the ordinary even during—particularly during—times of sadness.

Every day there is a new place of sadness and grief toward which we turn our attention. Yemen. Toronto. A Waffle House in Nashville. A Starbucks.

It's also okay to turn your attention to the peepers in the woods outside your church that you can hear shrieking as you walk toward your car, too, or to the really cute shoes that someone sent you a picture of themselves wearing. (Facebook, April 23)

The cop who didn’t shoot

Liz James draws our attention to the Canadian police officer who did not shoot the suspect accused of killing ten people with his van in Toronto.

Lam caught up with the suspect and faced him on the Toronto sidewalk, sirens blaring. Minnasian stood holding something out in front of him like a gun, declaring he was armed. Minnasian also reached quickly into his pocket several times, making a gun-pulling-out motion.

Instead of shooting, Lam kept de-escalating the situation. He turned off his siren so he could hear Minnasian better, and kept talking to him. He made subtle observations that then led him to holster his gun before making the arrest. He was a poster child for using only the necessary force. (Liz James Writes, April 26)

Facts and feelings

Kat Liu wishes that our UU Coming of Age rituals were less focused on individual beliefs.

I am all for rites of passage, communal rituals that mark changes in our lives. . . . But is this really is how we want to mark coming of age for our youth—to stand in front of the congregation and make a statement about individual beliefs. . . ? What if, instead of asking each youth to write about what they personally believe we asked them to write about what they see for the future of UUism, what role they play in it, and what role UUism plays in the world? (Wizduum, April 24)

The Rev. Scott Wells begins a series of posts about the state of the UUA, from his perspective.

This has been a hell of a year. I keep up with some ministers; the tension is strong. Will the UUA last, and will it matter if it doesn’t? Will we give up on our claims of liberal religion? Is our only appetite for political reaction? There’s a lot of fear, too. A fear of being ganged-up-on and denounced by amateur revolutionaries if your politics aren’t right. (Rev. Scott Wells, April 19)

The Rev. Lynn Ungar’s dogs answer a reader’s question about how we know what we really believe.

Whenever humans talk about things they “know,” they are always talking about both facts and feelings. And feelings almost always come out ahead of facts. People feel what they feel, and then they attach meaning to it that they then call “truth.” (Wombat and Dingbat, April 20)

The conundrums of income inequality

When Andrew Hidas drives by his childhood home, and discovers that its value has grown from $24,500 to $912,083, he begins thinking about income inequality.

This complete pricing out of the working class from what used to be middle- and lower-middle class homes illuminates the fact that professionals in the increasingly knowledge-based economy have been on the receiving end of an enormous escalation in salaries that has left an ever widening gulf between them and the working class. . . .

In truth, what poor and affluent Democrats mostly have in common is that the poor would like not to be so, and the affluent would like that for them, too, provided it doesn’t force them to sell too much of their Apple stock to finance the poor’s elevation, or require them to forsake their mountain views or their route to the brewpub in order to accommodate low cost housing across the street from their own homes. (traversing, April 22)

Lessons from a movie marathon

John Beckett enjoys a Lord of the Rings movie marathon with friends, and comes away with a few lessons, including “support your friends and keep your commitments.”

As much as we love heroic individuals, even more we need people who will make commitments to their communities and to the world, and then keep them no matter what. Individually, none of us can stand against the Saurons and Sarumans of our world. Together, we can defeat them, or simply make them irrelevant in our lives. (Under the Ancient Oaks, April 26)