Interdependent Web: Government shutdown, courage and possibility, powerful women

Interdependent Web: Government shutdown, courage and possibility, powerful women

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


The reality of the government shutdown

Michelle Richards, whose husband is an “essential employee” of the federal government, gives us a glimpse of “the reality of the government shutdown.”

The Judicial Department was fortunate in that it had a reserve of funds, but there are other people out there who are already going to work and not getting a paycheck. Yes, they will be paid eventually. But will their bank let them wait to pay their mortgage or rent? How about their car payments? The Gas, and Electric. Child care expenses. You name it. They still owe now it even though they will not get their money until some undefined “later.” (Facebook, 1.5.19)

Betty Reid Soskin, a 97-year-old active Park Ranger, shares her perspective on the shutdown.

I miss not only my paycheck, but those friends with whom I spend my days, the audiences who come to hear my presentations, those moments before entering our little theater when I sit behind the exhibits at the windows facing the waters and watching the soaring gulls and brown pelicans, the sassy crows, the cormorants and other unidentified birdlife, the graceful sailboats, the Bay Trail cyclists, and the wind in that giant eucalyptus that stands just off the entrance to our Visitor Center. I miss the interrupted rhythm of my life and work, in this, the most important and final period of my life. (CBreaux Speaks, 1.6.19)

Courage and possibility

Catharine Clarenbach is afraid—for our nation, for its soul, and for each of our souls—and offers words of encouragement.

May we be courageous and know, somehow, that there is a niche for each of us, a place where our actions make differences. And may we be spurred on to greater risks and experiments, in the service of a just, sustainable, verdant, and loving world. (The Way of the River, 1.4.19)

Tony Lorenzen notes that change makes most of us fearful, challenges us to focus on possibility instead of fear.

Hope is built on possibility—that no direction or plan or fate is ever completely firm and fixed forever—revelation is ongoing is a cornerstone of our Unitarian Universalism—anything can, and eventually everything does, change.

Change isn’t something to be feared, it’s the playing field of life, of reality. Will we be controlled by change? Will we put so much strength into resisting it that we can’t form it and shape it into a more pleasing and accessible shape? (Sunflower Chalice, 1.4.19)

The powerful-women aversion

Doug Muder calls out the unconscious aversion so many people have to powerful women.

“I would have voted for a woman” isn’t an excuse any more. Do or don’t, but what you would have done in some alternate reality doesn’t matter.

For the most part, this kind of prejudice is structural and unconscious. “Woman politician” has become a category in people’s heads; it seems natural to treat them differently than male politicians, as if a political office changes when a woman holds it. . . . As Pelosi’s speakership, Ocasio-Cortez’ congressional service, and the 2020 campaign continue, we’re going to have to monitor this constantly, both in the media and in our own minds. (The Weekly Sift, 1.7.19)

Personal perspectives

Joanna Fontaine Crawford asks, “When were you born again?”

When did Unitarian Universalism become not just an inherited part of your identity, but a faith you chose, that you fell in love with? When did you see the high ideals of this faith and, breathless, feel in your heart that this was something you were called to live up to? When did it all connect, that there was wisdom here, and lofty goals, and that for you, this was your spiritual path, that Unitarian Universalism would be the method in which you would take strides toward becoming the person you wanted to be? (Boots and Blessings, 1.8.19)

John Beckett reflects on his identity as a child of the land, rather than the sea.

I still smile whenever I see the ocean for the first time in a long time, whether from the land, from a ship, or from the air. . . .But I can never forget that I am always a guest of the ocean, a nautical tourist, a visitor to the shore and the tides.

I am a child of the land. I have always lived on the land, and when my time comes I will be buried in the land.

The ocean will always be a foreign place to me. (Under the Ancient Oaks, 1.10.19)

Justin Almeida is moving through the complicated turbulence of early grief.

The path through psychospiritual trauma is an individual journey made in the context of caravan. My father is dead. My heart is broken. For now I am engaged in grief. Nobody else can do this for me. And I am not alone. (Necessary but not sufficient, 1.10.19)