Interdependent Web: Breathing instructions, saved by broken people, tactical democracy

Interdependent Web: Breathing instructions, saved by broken people, tactical democracy

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


Breathing instructions

The Rev. Elizabeth Stevens’ post-election poem deserves to be read in its entirety—start here, and follow the link to read the rest.

Oh, my dear ones.
I know you were hoping
For a once-and-done.
For an earthquake,
A tidal wave.
Hoping that if we gave it our all,
A single push would be enough.
That after this, we could
Back into complacency,
Back into the comfort of our privilege. (Facebook, 11.7.18)

The Rev. Lynn Ungar, who is an experienced dog trainer, has a bumper sticker that says, “Celebrate Approximations.”

"Celebrate Approximations" is not just about dogs. Big changes happen by small shifts that are rewarded or encouraged. If everything that is not perfect is bad, you never even get to good, let alone perfect. Which doesn't mean that once you achieve a little bit you are done. It means that you are participating in an ongoing process, which is the only way that change happens. (Facebook, 11.6.18)

The Rev. Jeremy Nickel writes that “Thinking voting is a fulfillment of your civic duty is like thinking recycling is enough, you’ve got to reduce and reuse too.” (Facebook, 11.7.18)

The Rev. Theresa Soto gives us “breathing instructions.”

I know breathing instructions are annoying.
So, I will give you spare ones.

-Do it.
-Don't stop.

Align yourself with the thing that keeps you alive.

Whisper to yourself, to your beloveds, to the falling,
falling leaves. We do the next thing because it is next.

We live in a future that we act upon now.

We rise. (Facebook, 11.7.18)

Saved by broken people

Liz James visits Louisa May Alcott’s house and comes away with a powerful lesson about human frailty.

We do so much sorting of people into heroes and villains. So much scouring of one another for flaws, and of course the flaws are there and they are many, and they are HUGE. . . .

[But we] are not saved by heroes. We are saved by broken people.

Broken, we carry each other home. (Facebook, 11.8.18)

The Rev. Jake Morrill invites members of his congregation “to break bread tonight with your neighbors who just voted wrong.”

Personally, I’m no moderate. I’m a wild-eyed extremist in the name of God‘s mercy. In this country, I think “liberty and justice for all” should mean “for all.” So, I’ve got some opinions. And some strong feelings. And fear. But I’ll come to that table. And I’ll keep coming, to break bread with people who I think see things wrong—and who are pretty sure “wrong” is too mild a word for what I’m about.

Because right alongside my passionately preferred political outcome, I want to be part of a Love Revolution. And that means letting border-crossing, bubble-bursting, re-humanizing revolutionary love happen through my life and my heart and through all my relations. And maybe you’re interested in that kind of thing, too. (Facebook, 11.6.18)

The Rev. Bill Neely imagines a kind of voting that is more than filling in ovals.

I vote for the breaking; the continual breaking open that brings food from dirt,

That brings beauty from mud, that brings neighbor to my door, my kids watching,

Who says, “I have tomatoes from my garden for your family. A pepper, too.” (Facebook, 11.3.18)

Tactical democracy

When likely House Speaker Nancy Pelosi spoke about bipartisanship, the Rev. Audette Fulbright sent a firm but nuanced message to her representatives.

I hope Pelosi (and Schumer) will mentor new leaders and openly put a limit on their own terms, ahead of 2020, with a plan to support a vote on new leadership at least a year before the Presidential. Short-term strength and institutional knowledge, and a "we heard you/transition" plan. (Facebook, 11.8.18)

Kat Liu urges progressives not to overreact to Pelosi’s victory speech.

[You] would be wrong if you think she won't fight. She may not go as far as you want her to. (In fact, there is no "may" about it; she definitely won't go as far as you want to.) But she will fight on certain key things because she has been fighting all this time. SHE, Pelosi, delivered the House votes to pass Obamacare. She is the reason why Repubs were unable to repeal it despite numerous attempts. While she was Speaker, she moved several important pieces of legislation thru the House, only to have them die in the Senate. She is damn good at her job. It's just that she doesn't think that her job is what you think it should be.

Maybe there is someone out there who would be just as good at keeping Dems in line yet more progressive. I'm not saying there isn't and I agree that DNC leadership has stifled new leadership. But things could have been so much worse without her. (Facebook, 11.8.18)

Medicine that tastes bad

The Rev. Dan Harper ties the decline of participants in UU religious education programs to demographics and finances.

There are obvious steps to take, none of which is rocket science, but none of which is easy. First, engage in hard-headed and realistic financial planning, and plan now what staffers and what programs you will cut first, and plan how to deal with the aftermath of those cuts. . . . Second, stifle white dominance so non-white people can find space in your congregation. . . . Third, figure out how to customize your key programs and ministries so you can serve people who want more than one choice on Sunday morning. . . .

Change is coming. We better learn how to manage it. (Yet Another Unitarian Universalist, 11.4.18)

The Rev. Theresa Soto writes that “The strength we lack is strength to take medicine that tastes bad, to tell the truth about the ways that Unitarian Universalism, both in history, and in its conflicted present doesn’t affirm the humanity of each person in the same way.” (Medium, 11.3.18)