Interdependent Web: Earthly temptation, parenting lessons, political opponents, thinking about words

Interdependent Web: Earthly temptation, parenting lessons, political opponents, thinking about words

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


Earthly temptation

The Rev. Dr. Victoria Weinstein jokingly suggested to a friend that her sabbatical goal is to sneak into the monastery on Mount Athos, where no women—not even female animals—are allowed.

I don’t think straight men can understand what it’s like to be barred from any space based on the deep, religious belief that your body is dirty, sinful and dangerous to the actually holy people who abide there. Only queer men can relate to that level of rejection and disgust toward your personhood . . . . I told my friend that I wanted to go “get girl germs all over everything.” What I really want to do is fly in on a female dragon, get dropped off by my dragon (let’s call her Heyschia), and walk in naked yelling “HERE COMES EARTHLY TEMPTATION, FELLAS!” a la Bette Midler. (Facebook, August 25)

Parenting lessons

Liz James tries to have a deep conversation with her son, whose side of the conversation consists of wisdom like this:

Love is like farts. It usually dissipates quickly, and if you have to force it, it’s probably crap. (Facebook, August 29)

When a political opponent dies

The Rev. Amy Zucker Morgenstern does not care for the glowing praise she’s heard for John McCain after his death this week.

Even the most exalted politician leaves a trail of bad decisions, and even the best people do a lot of harmful things. . . . But for a public servant to receive such glowing praise as I’ve seen since yesterday, the preponderance of his deeds should glow, and McCain’s just don’t. Not for African-Americans, LGBTQ people, immigrants, poor people, or those who care about any of the above.

I like the way Obama put it, that at his best McCain showed us what it means to put the greater good above one’s own. That is true, and the best I can say. (Sermons in Stones, August 26)

The Rev. Tom Schade writes that “It’s impossible to really evaluate John McCain on his own because we have to look around and past Trump to see him now.”

Right now, people in the center and on the left are so anxious to find a Republican who is not willingly enabling Trump that we make folks like McCain, Flake, Corker, Murkowski, and Collins into great leaders of principle. They’re not. . . .

The admiration for John McCain is a nostalgia for an old elitist politics, and a hope that things can go back to normal, as though the old normal was just. (Facebook, August 27)

The Rev. David Miller accepts that people have different reactions to McCain’s death, but regrets that McCain’s death has overshadowed that of Neil Simon.

Political polarization wants us to feed on each other, life is complicated. With that said, this news has overshadowed the death of someone who had a much bigger influence on my life, Neil Simon. As a young actor and theater person, his writing and plays are at the center of so many of my memories. I honor his contributions to the American experience and express my gratitude for his life of creativity and observations of the human condition. (Facebook, August 27)

Thinking about words

Thomas Earthman addresses the struggles religious liberals have with spiritual language.

Few people get into heated arguments about whether an herbal infusion that contains no tea leaves is allowed to be called tea. Or whether “milk” from nuts or beans can be called “milk”. While there are those who hold strong opinions, these topics are nowhere near as hotly debated as religious language. Why do we have these debates over things that are far less tangible and much more personal? Maybe the fact that they are so personal is the answer, but it doesn’t seem like a good justification. (I Am UU, August 27)

The Rev. Joanna Crawford notes that in this age of intolerance, it’s time for liberals to embrace the word “tolerance” again.

If you tolerate me, we can still work together. We can repair homes together, dish out food at a soup kitchen together. But I may not be inviting you to dinner on Friday night, you know?

Now, depending on the area in which the other person is merely tolerant of me or my beliefs ... actually, I may indeed invite them to dinner. Because I may see so much other good in them, and it has been my experience that helping someone move from tolerance to acceptance lies in more contact, more time together. . . .

The side of intolerance is growing, and getting louder and bolder.

Along with love and acceptance, we still need room for tolerance. (Boots and Blessings, August 28)

The Rev. Dan Harper suggests that postmodernism’s destabilizing effects have contributed to our vulnerability to fascist politics.

Postmodernism and postmodern ideas are widespread in our society, and in our public discourse. We are all affected by them. The point I’m trying to make is that we have to be critical of our own discourse, and be aware of how we’re being affected by postmodern efforts to destabilize epistemic certainty. Because no one wants to wind up like Rudy Guiliani, saying in a public, “Truth isn’t truth.” (Yet Another Unitarian Universalist, August 23)

John Beckett examines the word “monster.”

I’m not interested in reclaiming “monster” as a positive word. If the word bothers you, if it scares you, then you probably should be afraid.

Because what you have labeled as other is still here. And we aren’t going away. (Under the Ancient Oaks, August 28)