Interdependent Web: A few true things, despair for the world, the meaning of sandwiches

Interdependent Web: A few true things, despair for the world, the meaning of sandwiches

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


A few true things

Kari Kopnick says her “few true things” about depression, including that “There are gifts in being a depressed person.”

It’s hard to see but I believe this is true. Our people, the depressed ones, write the best books and music and create soaring art. We feel the world so deeply that when we can convey this depth, it moves mountains and hearts and minds. I have a depth of understanding and compassion that comes from living on the edge of meaning. It’s a part of me I treasure. (Kari Kopnick, June 8)

Doug Muder shares thoughts about depression sparked by the death of Anthony Bourdain.

In my view, the most insidious thing about [depression] is that it first attacks the faculties that you will need to fight it off. (That’s why all the “snap out of it” advice never works. The command center that could have received and acted on that message has already fallen.) You may not even notice what’s happening until the depression has you encircled.

That’s why I think everyone needs to set alarms at the border, so that you notice the slide while you still have the resources to turn things around. . . . Whenever either of them shows up, I’m in danger and need to implement high standards of mental hygiene. (The Weekly Sift, June 11)

The Rev. Amy Zucker Morgenstern reminds us that reasonable gun laws would the lives of many suicidal people.

When people want to know what good it will do suicidal people to restrict their access to guns, the answer is: it can save the larger part of sixty lives a day.

Sixty lives is a Las Vegas massacre, every day, week in, week out. If you worry about your child’s safety, reflect: they are probably twice as likely to die by suicide as by homicide. To keep them safe, tackle suicide. To tackle suicide, tackle the gun lobby. (Sermons in Stones, June 8)

Despair for the world

The Rev. Jason Shelton gives voice to the “despair for the world” many of us feel.

Despair. That’s what I'm feeling, and I know I’m not alone. Despair for a world that seems hell-bent on destroying itself, of pursuing mindless wealth and endless entertainment while so many languish in poverty and hopelessness. . . .

When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be
I go and lie down in the middle of street,
in front of the state capitol,
where the voracious politicians feed. (Jason Shelton Music, June 13)

Andrew Hidas issues a warning by using a metaphor from boxing to describe the unrelenting, hard-hitting strategy of the Trump administration.

Jabs and uppercuts, hooks from left and right, and whenever they can get away with it, thumbs in the eye and brass knuckles buried in the gloves.

Lies upon lies upon more lies.

Whatever it takes to overwhelm and subdue the opposition. That’s what we are faced with, and they are committed to it in the most stone-faced, ill-mannered, duplicitous, fraudulent, vicious and amoral fashion we have ever seen in the history of the American presidency. (Traversing, June 9)

The Rev. Amy Shaw asks, “Who would you have been in 1944?”

For everyone who read the Diary of Anne Frank as a child, or even as an adult, and wondered if you would have been brave enough to bring them food or blankets, for everyone who ever imagined themselves hiding along with them, here's the thing—

If you are sitting here today applauding at the US practice of separating undocumented children and parents, then let me assure you,

You wouldn’t have been hiding with the Franks. (Facebook, June 10)

'This is America' by Amy Petrie Shaw

Mixed media, digitally enhanced acrylic. © 2018 Amy Petrie Shaw

The meaning of sandwiches

As she asks a UU friend about her master’s thesis about the meaning of food, Liz James finds herself “awash with affection” for her religion.

Because so many UUs come from other faiths, it is sometimes hard to have a common sense of identity. Anna—who was raised UU—was summing it up in that moment. I could vividly imagine her sitting across from someone in some northern community. With them being all “delicious, eh?” and trying to to show her how the meat smoker works. And her, poised with pen over paper, saying “tell me about the deeper cultural and spiritual meaning of this sandwich.” (Liz James Writes, June 12)

Kim Hampton wonders about the lack of UU intellectual curiosity about religion.

Why doesn’t Beacon Press have something akin to the Abingdon New/Old Testament Commentaries? Why aren’t we publishing a Qur’anic commentary series by noted Muslim scholars? Or a series about the Vedas by Hindu scholars? and so on and so on and so on.

Why is it, for all of our supposed intellectualism on a wide range of subjects, most Unitarian Universalist show absolutely no curiosity regarding religion itself? (East of Midnight, June 12)

The Rev. Andrew Weber introduces a guest post written by “Julia,” who shares two tips for recognizing the inherent worth and dignity of difficult people.

I picture the difficult person with someone they love, or someone who loves them. It’s a little easier to recognize someone’s inherent worth when you can picture them being unconditionally loved by their Mama. . . .

I try to figure out what that difficult person has to teach me. Often in our lives, the folks who are toughest to deal with are the ones who can teach us the most about ourselves, as long as we are open to the lesson. Instead of focusing on their negative qualities or how they are driving us crazy, we can appreciate how they are helping us learn about ourselves. (How to Drive Like a Minister, June 11)