Interdependent Web: A tenuous experiment, family of the heart, useful things

Interdependent Web: A tenuous experiment, family of the heart, useful things

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


This tenuous experiment

Amy Zucker Morgenstern writes, “Why do I post so much about politics? Because my heart is breaking.”

I love this country. It's my home. I know it's a mess and has been from the start. It has never lived up to its stated ideals of true leadership by the common people or its radical promises of freedom. It has climbed up to positions of empire on the backs of indigenous people, enslaved Africans and their descendants, women, poor people, the people from other countries. But those ideals have kept it struggling to be better, and we've done so much to push it forward. . . . And now it is in the hands of a two-bit mob boss whose strings are pulled by a mob boss who isn't two-bit at all. . . .

I know I sound angry. But that's the secondary emotion, the one that kicks in because I am so, so sad. And I love my homeland. And if this tenuous experiment in democracy fails, what will replace it? (Facebook, 2.7.19)

Kim Hampton responds to the racist, homophobic attack on Jussie Smollett, Ralph Northam’s blackface photo, and the daily onslaught of racist actions that occupy the news and then fade from attention.

[Those] of us who know the history of racism in this country have to point out that there is nothing new in any of these actions. Those who have been in denial act as if it is surprising that none of this is new. The cycle repeats.

And all of this keeps us from having the real discussion about racist policy and practice. Don’t misunderstand me, the racist actions need to be talked about. However, until we get to the harder conversation about policy and practice, little will change. (East of Midnight, 2.3.19)

Doug Muder makes a pragmatic argument for the necessity of forgiveness.

I’m open to the idea that Ralph Northam can’t be governor anymore. Virginians seem to be saying that, and ultimately it’s their decision. I also like the idea that there’s a clear difference between the parties: Democrats would never let a man become president who brags about his sexual assaults while claiming that his accusers are too unattractive to be worth assaulting.

But as we watch Northam leave the public stage, as I suspect he will, I hope that doesn’t end the discussion. We need to think hard about where the limits of forgiveness are and how one seeks it.

Because I don’t think we’re ever going to find enough pure people to form a majority. (The Weekly Sift, 2.4.19)

Family of the heart

When Tina Porter learns a life lesson from applying wood stain without adequate ventilation, she decides that “God isn’t always in the details; sometimes, she may be in the fumes.” (Tina L. Porter, 2.5.19)

After a month away from social media, Peggy Clarke reports that, “Without Facebook, January becomes very quiet.”

All the voices go silent and I’m left with my own and those of the people right in front of me. For a time, I’m reminded of life growing up when I was unreachable unless I was actually in my home where the phone was. Once I left, I could walk or ride my bike without thought about being in conversation with people not physically with me or needing to be informed about . . . anything. I could just walk or ride and be. (Facebook, 2.3.19)

Audette Fulbright reaches out to those bearing the brunt of violent hate.

If you find yourself out of patience with racist, sexist, homophobic, transphobic, or other harms to your inherent worth and dignity,
may you, especially, be comforted. . . .

Let us know our worth to one another.
Let us speak as family of the heart,
gentle, generous, compassionate souls
reaching out to one another. (Facebook, 2.1.19)

Useful things

Tim Atkins offers practical advice for congregations seeking to hire religious educators.

The most impressed I’ve been has been with congregations who take a religious educator search as seriously as a ministerial search. . . . When a congregation puts out a beautifully designed packet, religious educators take note and start telling each other about it. . . .

Put the effort you want to see from your religious educator into your search for a religious educator. (Facebook, 2.1.19)

Lynn Ungar suggests that we should be more skeptical of so-called “common sense.”

Common sense describes the things that we "just know" because they are "obvious."

But things are obvious to us because they are unquestioned, and often rooted in our unconscious biases. The difference between common sense and an old wives tale is whether something fits within your preconceptions or not. The extreme version of this is a president who has a "gut sense" that climate change isn't real, but all of us make these kinds of assumptions all the time. We exhort one another to do things or not do things, we choose what to do or we say what public figures need to do because we "know what's right." (Facebook, 2.3.19)