Interdependent Web: A rare prophet, fierce love, racist weeds

Interdependent Web: A rare prophet, fierce love, racist weeds

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


A rare prophet

Jami Yandle was a student of Dr. James Cone, the founder of black liberation theology, who died this past week.

I remember . . . watching Dr. Cone leave his notes and podium to casually but intentionally stroll in front of us, stirring us up, getting us ignited by his words, talking about our own voices and theology, urging us to find our own personal fire as he did and to amplify it tenfold, telling us all how changing the world means making a lot of people angry and confusing others and that’s alright, you use those reactions and push further, and you just keep going, no matter what. (Facebook, April 28)

The Rev. Kimberley Debus was also one Cone’s students, and remembers a lecture after the publication of his last book.

He said he could die happy, knowing he had finished this book.

And we all got it. We all understood that we had just heard the whole story – witnessed this man’s telling of the entire arc of his life’s work. While decades’ worth of students have heard this man teach and preach, watching him work through this amazing theology, we were the first class to see the entire story described, first hand, by the man himself. (Notes from the Far Fringe, October 14, 2011)

They loved something fierce

Kim Hampton remembers the formative influence of the Church Mothers of the Black Church.

Growing up as a fat girl, I got picked on a lot. But the one group of people who never talked about me in any way were the Church Mothers. The Church Mothers would pinch my cheeks and tell me I was cute. The Church Mothers would tell me I was smart. The Church Mothers would tell me not to worry about people who did not matter. The Church Mothers would never judge.

Now, let me be clear, Church Mothers could cut you with a look. They had sharp tongues to those who deserved it (and we all deserve it sometimes).

But the Church Mothers loved. They loved something fierce. (Facebook, May 2)

The Rev. Theresa Soto invites us to open the tight space around our beating hearts.

wash the
shame that collects around
your eyes, gently and away.
look at yourself [look at your
nearest ones] with tender love.
arrive in the home of your
ribcage. arrive to the truth
that as you begin, you are the
furnace where love is purified.
you are the soft earth where love
comes blooming. (Facebook, April 29)

Weeds in your garden

The Rev. Sara Goodman shares her friend Misha Sanders words about racism.

[It’s] like weeds in a garden. . . . If you are white, you have racist weeds in your garden. Don’t let white guilt make you give up and let the good things in your garden get choked out. Just pull out the weeds you see today, and then pull out more tomorrow, and then keep pulling them out every day, forever. There is no season when the work is finally over. And please don’t wait for people of color to tell you that it looks like your little plot is getting overgrown. (Facebook, May 1)

The pace of change

The Rev. Bret Lortie inherited a set of fine china—and draws a metaphor to congregational life.

I wonder if our churches are being treated like the fine china we’ve inherited. Aesthetically cast for another generation’s ideas of what fine dining (I mean, worship) looks like. Designed for different visions of the holy—removed, even, from the everyday. Are our churches, in the way they’re designed and set, really how we want to plate our guests’ food? (Facebook, April 28)

Doug Muder summarizes Mark and Paul Engler’s book, This Is An Uprising.

From the title you might think it’s a manifesto, but actually it’s a study of how nonviolent action works, and how the thinking of nonviolent activists has developed over the last century or so. Along the way, it makes a convincing parallel argument: Nonviolence does work; sometimes it works on a scale and at a speed that its practitioners never envisioned; and it could work even better if more people understood the mechanics of it. (The Weekly Sift, April 30)

Outrage can get boring

The Rev. Joanna Fontaine Crawford reminds us that outrage can get boring.

So, we’re learning to pick the hills we’re willing to be outraged on. To pause, and consider that perhaps this might be a situation better served with a shrug, so as to save our outrage for the moments that need it.

Believe me, over the next few years, there will be moments that need it. (Boots and Blessings, May 1)

The Rev. Scott Wells reflects on being a Christian among Unitarian Universalists.

My theological orthodoxy doesn’t provide me any benefit among Unitarian Universalists, which also means I’m not penalized for believing the wrong thing. There’s no reward for lying about believing something I don’t believe in. It’s a lot easier to be honest as a Unitarian Universalist, and that’s something I highly treasure, even if it means I’m in a small minority.

Which is why I find the idea of a political orthodoxy so repellent. (Rev. Scott Wells, May 3)

The Rev. Dan Harper wishes we were more forgiving of human failings.

Instead of being shocked when human beings screw up, instead I suggest we accept regular screw-ups as a fact of life, acknowledge that any one of us can (and probably will) screw up, and make sure we build into our human institutions processes for dealing with screw-ups. I suppose it seems more glamorous to get all indignant when other people screw up, and flood social media with that indignation — but while maintaining and strengthening institutional processes is far less glamorous, I promise you it’s more likely to bend the moral arc of the universe towards justice. (Yet Another Unitarian Universalist, May 3)