Interdependent Web: Taking breaks, spiritual companions, coping with bullshifting, changing minds

Interdependent Web: Taking breaks, spiritual companions, coping with bullshifting, changing minds

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


Taking a break—or not

The Rev. Amy Zucker Morgenstern resumes her posts about the music of Hamilton, with one about the song, “Take a Break.”

When we see a driven, brilliant person who accomplishes more in his profession than seems possible for any mortal, we might wonder, what is he like at home?

It’s hard to pull him away from his desk, even for dinner. He has to be nagged into spending a few minutes with his son on the child’s birthday. It’s almost impossible to get him to go on vacation. “I will try to get away,” Hamilton tells Eliza. Yeah, right. Every workaholic has uttered these words, and every spouse, child or friend of one rolls their eyes when they hear them. (Sermons in Stones, July 25)

The Rev. Monica Dobbins rants about ministers who use a Bible lectionary passage to preach to their comfortable congregants about taking all their vacation days.

HOLD UP. “Take your vacation days”? You mean, everybody in these pews GETS vacation days? Because a lot of the folks I know are working two and three jobs to try to make ends meet. A lot of older folks I know are working through pain in their bodies to keep working, so they can retire without being a burden to their kids. A lot of other folks I know won’t even take their sick days because they’re afraid of losing their jobs. Some folks haven’t had a vacation in years, or maybe ever. . . . The message of Jesus is to the poor. Period. (Facebook, July 26)

Spiritual companions

The Rev. James Ford offers three rules-of-thumb for an authentic spiritual life, including, “You need someone to check you.”

The brain is a great liar. We tell ourselves all sorts of stories about what we need and deserve, only some of which are true. Also, along the spiritual way we have lots of experiences. Mostly of limited or actually no value on the way. Someone who has walked the way before you, who you have some trust in, and who is willing to say the hard truth now and again, is worth their weight in gold. (Monkey Mind, July 25)

Wombat and Dingbat, the Rev. Lynn Ungar’s canine spiritual companions, give advice to a reader whose cat is nearing death, and whose friends are less than compassionate.

Well, she could start by talking about her loss to friends who DO have cats or dogs who are family members, since it will be easier for them to understand. And she could think about who are friends who mostly understand how to empathize, and reach out to them. And, if she feels up to it, when someone says “Why are you so upset? It’s just a cat.” she could maybe say, “He was very precious to me, and I am hoping that my friends can recognize that and support me.” (Wombat and Dingbat Save the World, July 20)

Coping with bullshifting

Doug Muder shares a new, very useful word: bullshifting.

Because Bullshifters argue in bad faith, they can make up whatever facts are necessary to wriggle out of any refutation you come up with. (In a good-faith argument, you can eventually reach mutual agreement on some kind of ground truth that future deductions can build on: Water is wet; granite is heavy. But bad-faith arguments are bottomless.) All that happens is that you get drawn farther and farther away from your original valid point. . . . If you feel that you must engage, I recommend that you label the comment rather than respond to it: “Nice attempt to bullshift. But my original point stands: [restate].” (The Weekly Sift, July 23)

The Rev. Nathan Ryan suggests a response to those who claim that it is difficult to reunite children with their deported parents.

This administration decided that it was ok to deport parents with no plan to reunite then with the children this administration took away from them. (Facebook, July 26)

How will it end?

Andrew Hidas discusses the “stickiness” of Trump’s base.

The question of the day is instead, “How can Trump supporters possibly live in such a state of denial that they still support him after all that has befallen the country in the past 19 months?”

And the answer is: “Because this is what they responded to and wanted in 2016.”

And now they are getting it—the near complete fulfillment of their dreams, in a president who has, for better and in my estimation very much worse, done exactly what he said he was going to do.

May God now help them.

And us. (Traversing, July 21)

The Rev. Tom Schade writes about how he believes Trump voters will change their minds.

Many Trump supporters will support him against all evidence until the day they don’t. . . . Trump’s support will not dwindle as much as collapse. . . . They will not be persuaded by facts, arguments, statistics, or clever witticism to stop supporting him. At some point, something he does will embarrass them. Or at some point, they will get tired of defending his latest lunacy.

When they are done with him, they will be well and truly done with him. (Facebook, July 26)