Interdependent Web: Longing for pageantry, remembering our aspirations, the multiplicity of Oneness, the body remembers

Interdependent Web: Longing for pageantry, remembering our aspirations, the multiplicity of Oneness, the body remembers

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


Longing for pageantry

Watching Aretha Franklin’s funeral makes Kim Hampton long for the pageantry of the Black church.

There is a feeling in the Black church that church is different. Not ordinary. That it is a place where we put our best forward and display it. . . .

Where’s the pageantry in UUism? Has there ever been pageantry in UUism? (East of Midnight, September 4)

Remembering our aspirations

Doug Muder writes that John McCain’s carefully constructed legend, on display at his memorial services, embodied “all the virtues that Trump so conspicuously lacks.”

This era needs an anti-Trump hero. The perfect avatar of that ideal has not emerged yet. In the meantime, we have John McCain, whose life in so many ways can remind us of the thing we long for.

We should celebrate that; neither in ignorance nor in cynicism, but in hope. Someday the Trump Era will end. May that day come soon. And if the Legend of John McCain helps it come sooner, then I say: “Print the legend.” (The Weekly Sift, September 3)

Andrew Hidas also noted the skillfulness of McCain’s memorials as a contrast to the chaos of the current administration.

McCain was many things, but in the end, among the countless stirring images and words from the proceedings of the past few days, what has perhaps struck me most is what a master strategist he turned out to be. Taking the full measure of his own demise, the man orchestrated down to every last dotted “i” and crossed “t” his own powerful rejoinder to the travesty of the current administration while reminding the assembled legislators in particular of the responsibilities they bear in pursuit of the common good. (Traversing, September 2)

The multiplicity of Oneness

The Rev. Catharine Clarenbach refutes the notion that the spiritual life always moves forward.

I think moving forward is not how this life, this practice, this existence goes. My universe, spiritual and otherwise, moves in spirals and fractals, not in straight lines. . . . Spiritual practice is much more like a labyrinth than a straight line headed for the Great Beyond. My theology is not so much about winning a race, getting to Heaven, achieving…well achieving anything, really.

For me, spiritual practice is about aligning myself with what is.

The multiplicity of Oneness. The destruction that is essential for creation. Human failure and forgetfulness as well as beauty and peace-bringing. The dark depths of creative beginnings as well as the shining heights of harvest and completion. (The Way of the River, August 31)

The Rev. Meredith Garmon makes a pitch for religion to the “spiritual but not religious” crowd.

I have found . . . deep satisfaction from being a member of the Unitarian Universalist “tribe.” Belongingness in a community of care and concern is a deep human need. Many such communities—including Unitarian Universalist ones—work at mitigating the negative, insular aspects that some communities develop. (The Liberal Pulpit, September 5)

John Beckett offers advice to those considering a spiritual pilgrimage.

Even when they turn out to be arduous, pilgrimages are some of the most rewarding sacred traditions we can participate in. But the purpose of a pilgrimage isn’t to give you a peak experience. It’s to do or show or teach or facilitate something in your life so you come home more than when you left. (Under the Ancient Oaks, September 6)

The Rev. Joanna Fontaine Crawford describes the “whole church worship” that her congregation practices.

We really wanted to be one community, where adults know little kids, teens are treated as the young adults they are becoming, and all ages mix together in the central gathering of the congregation: the worship service. We are often so age-segregated nowadays. We liked the idea of offering an alternative. (Boots and Blessings, September 4)

The body remembers

The Rev. Amy Zucker Morgenstern’s body remembers a long-ago injury at the hands of her former husband.

He grabbed my thumb and pulled it back toward my wrist. I screamed in fright and pain, and he let go.

In the weeks after that, no one would have been able to tell that I was hurt. I can’t remember whether there was any bruising or swelling, just a lot of pain in that joint. It lingered for a long time, and then after it was mostly healed, it made itself felt again whenever I needed a strong left thumb. . . . We have now been divorced for 15 years, and Matt has been deceased for 12, but I still have this reminder of him. It’s not a way he would have liked to be memorialized, but my thumb remembers in its own way. (Sermons in Stones, August 31)