Interdependent Web: Alert but not overwhelmed, together in grief and action, things to remember before you vote

Interdependent Web: Alert but not overwhelmed, together in grief and action, things to remember before you vote

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


Alert but not overwhelmed

Claire Curole writes that it’s hard to know how to respond to the “ firehose of catastrophe gushing faster than anyone can drink it in.”

When we are too terrified, we freeze. When we are too comfortable, we relax. Somewhere in between, alert to threat but not overwhelmed by it, we are best capable of choosing and taking action. . . .

I am not sure I agree with the premise that we must all be at maximum outrage about everything all the time; in fact, I am very sure I do not agree with that. . . .

I am not going to tell anyone not to be afraid, or hurt, or angry. But strong emotion is strong power, and I am going to ask each of us to consider who is using our power, and to what end. (Sand Hill Diary, November 1)

The Rev. Aaron White finds solace in a strange place—remembering mortality while scattering people’s ashes.

How odd we must’ve looked – the two of us in dress clothes in the garden, sweating in the Texas heat, silently standing over the soil and muttering prayers over the remains of people gone.

But I have to tell you, it was good medicine for me. I was feeling pretty low today, about myself and the world. It was a day where everything had seemingly gone wrong already, and the day wasn’t half over. . . . Placing that ash into the earth, their ash, did me good. It was, as it usually is, a shot of instant perspective. So little matters. What does matter, matters so much. . . .

None of this is new insight, but it helps me to remember. You are temporary. So is every person you’ve ever met or loved. Each moment passes. This whole thing is a blessing, and a short one. (Possibility Conspiracy, October 19)

Together in grief and action

The Rev. David Miller embodies the words, “Never again.”

I will not return violence with violence, for that will not create peace. But don’t tell me not to resist. Don’t tell me that you don’t vote because it won’t do anything. Don’t tell me that all this stops at your door because the economy at this specific time in history makes your particular life better, because my Black, Brown, Jewish, LGBTQ and Trans siblings are dying. The forces of hate, fear and othering have found a more obvious voice in the last couple of years, a voice that years of politics of polarization and fear mongering have released on this world. I do believe in love, but I don’t believe in passive love. This is our moment in history. (Facebook, October 27)

Keith Kron offers a prayer “for a better world, one with less violence, fewer threats of violence, less hatred, and more respect and love.”

I pray we never forget the people we've lost, the people who lost someone they loved, the people who were terrorized and traumatized by these violent acts.

I pray this violence will end.

I pray each of us does one act that promotes kindness, respect and peace to those around us.

I pray each of us reaches out to others with more love. (Facebook, October 27)

The Rev. Chris Buice, whose congregation has also known gun violence, shares the words he offered at a vigil in his community.

Tonight we grieve. Tonight we pray. Tonight we support each other. Tomorrow we vote. Tomorrow we take action. Tomorrow we organize. Many of us were trained to do just that in this building (the Arnstein Jewish Community Center). We were trained to be upstanders not bystanders; to stand up to hate, bias, bigotry and racism. For as the Gates of Prayer, a prayer book found in synagogues across this country, tells us, “Pray like everything depends on God but act as if everything depends on you.” Tonight we pray. Tomorrow we do God’s work. (The Tao of Tennessee, October 30)

The Rev. Amy Zucker Morgenstern is moved by the words of the son of her childhood rabbi (the rabbi emeritus of the Tree of Life synagogue); after the memorial vigil the two men ate a late meal at a pizza place, where “Our waitress treated us with such compassion and sensitivity that it felt like a shiva meal.”

Of all the heartbreaking, soul-inspiring things he writes, the sentence about the waitress is the one that brought tears to my eyes. Shiva is the week of intense mourning that many Jews observe after a death in the family, during which the mourners do not prepare food. Serving a shiva meal in a pizza place: that’s what we will have to do for each other, white for black, non-Jews for Jews, non-Muslims for Muslims, native citizens for immigrants, hetero for LGB, cis for trans, native English speakers for English as a Second Language learners: everyone who has not been the latest salvo’s target for those who have been, because as long as we are united we cannot be defeated.

It makes me double down on my resolve to actively ally with those whose “category” I don’t share, especially African-Americans. I confess my slowness to take up their cause as passionately as my own, to respond as energetically to threats to their children as I do to threats to my own. I ask for their forgiveness, and forbearance as I work to change. (Sermons in Stones, October 29)

Things to remember before you vote

Doug Muder compiles a list of “things to remember before you vote.”

[As] one Trump scandal after another vanishes down the memory hole, it takes some effort to remember things that at the time seemed unforgettable. . . . But when it comes time to play our role as voters, we need to remember, and we need to make sure that other people remember.

So here’s my list of the most outrageous, most objectionable things that have happened since Republicans took control of the White House and both houses of Congress. . . . They happen fairly regularly, but each seems to push the previous ones out of our memories. (The Weekly Sift, October 29)

The Rev. Joanna Fontaine Crawford addresses the restlessness many feel as they wait for Tuesday’s midterm elections.

I don't know if we're all conscious about it, but right now, we're just waiting for Tuesday. . . .

On Tuesday, we find out about us. About the US. We find out what kind of country we're living in. Is it a country that shrugs (or cheers) at hate? Or a country that firmly says NO?

And so it's really no wonder that we're having trouble continuing with "normal life." (Facebook, October 30)

Jake Morrill notes that “Our country has a set of complex problems, with no simple solutions.”

A friend of mine says that the central task of these times of de-humanization is for us to engage in “re-humanization.” Which may be another way to say that we need to see and hear one another—our stories, our wounds, our quirks, our confessions—and even fall in love a little with one another. And, while we're at it, to come back to ourselves. . . .

If our hearts got stirred up like that, if we let beauty tug us out of our stupor, we could be moved to fight for what we love. Tenaciously and tenderly. Like something precious might, even at the last hour, have a chance of being saved. (Facebook, October 25)