Interdependent Web: Weep with those who weep, rejoice with those who rejoice, the noise of our lives

Interdependent Web: Weep with those who weep, rejoice with those who rejoice, the noise of our lives

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


Weep with those who weep

Rebecca Parker, a UU and Methodist minister, shared this brief but powerful reaction to the United Methodist Church’s decision to move toward greater exclusion of LGBTQ people.

The United Methodist Church has rejected the path forward that would make space for those of us who are Queer. . . . Time for a new Wesleyan gospel feast to [be] served post The United Methodist Church. But first, summon the wailing women to raise a lament for us. (Facebook, 2.25.19)

Oscar Lewis Sinclair also has strong connections to the United Methodist Church.

[My] family has Methodist Preachers spread through it like dandelions in the yard. I went to a United Methodist seminary. And in trying to explain my theology to newcomers to the church my usual line is “I speak fluent Unitarian Universalist, but with a Methodist accent.”

The Methodist church . . . I love taught me about grace, about music, and yeah, about Jesus—without ever once asking me to be something I am not. It hurts today, because the Methodist church I love is not the General Conference that just voted.

This decision today hurts. . . . even from the two and a half degrees of separation I find myself in. But for all those hurting: you were a beloved child of God yesterday, and you are a beloved child of God today and in all the days to come. (Facebook, 2.26.19)

Gretchen Haley writes that the UMC decision is “not the gospel, not the way of abundant life.”

It is a horrible outcome, and yet it is so important to lift up the good and faithful work of those fighting from within to shift this huge and powerful force of Methodism. . . . It’s a force that speaks into the lives of straight parents in all corners of this country that could influence how they greet their queer kid, or the lives of voters that could shift how they think in that next vote about a “bathroom” bill or anti-discrimination ordinance. . . . These allies are fighting from within for the power and capacity to bring abundant life—for so many more. (Facebook, 2.26.19)

Theresa Soto cautions UUs about congratulating ourselves too quickly for the expansiveness of our welcome and provides an unflinchingly honest look at the barriers to inclusion encountered by trans UUs.

Being functionally excluded from ethical and spiritual community is hurtful in a deep and betraying way. Just because we don’t have a written rule of exclusion doesn’t mean that similar harm isn’t happening.

The good news is this: if Unitarian Universalists can get honest about the harm to trans UUs, we can do something about it. That possibility requires challenging our own habits of exceptionalism. Unitarian Universalism is not special in the quality of its welcome. It’s not a different, softer kind of exclusion that’s happening. We are not better for having beautiful ethics and theology that we don’t put into practice. (Medium, 2.27.19)

Rejoice with those who rejoice

After hours of contentious testimony, Fairbanks, Alaska has passed an anti-discrimination ordinance; Leslie Ahuvah Fails recounts “the glimmers of hope that came out of Monday night in addition to the passage of the ordinance.”

[We] spent the (5!!) hours we waited to sign up to testify engaging in meaningful conversation with the evangelical pastors who had queued up ahead of us. We told each other our stories and concerns. We did not mince words and the dialogue was at times terribly uncomfortable. But we—and they—listened with open hearts.

I can’t tell you that any minds were changed. But I do know this: little cracks began to form in our mistrust of one another. Several of us have agreed to meet again in hopes that our fellowship and their churches might partner on a project in service to the Fairbanks community. (Facebook, 2.27.19)

The noise of our lives

In these chaotic times, Aaron White asks what strategies we have for making the noise stop.

You might not live in a bustling or noisy city, but quieting the noise of our lives is no less a challenge. It is not always literal noise. We have competing priorities asking for our attention: meetings, playdates, and taxes to pay. We have messages from all over telling us what to pay attention to and who we should be. It might be coming from our phones, from the television, billboards, friends, family, or religion. Many of them are good and worthy messages. Many not. But in the midst of them all, how do you quiet the city and hear what is most important? (Possibility Conspiracy, 2.23.19)

John Beckett suggests four mundane skills that support spiritual practice: critical thinking, writing, speaking and presenting, and time management.

At its core, time management is simply knowing how much time a task will take, planning your day so that you have at least that much time available to work on it, and then doing it. It can’t put more hours in the day and it can’t eliminate the need to spend some of them on things like sleep and eating and doing a few seemingly-trivial things that bring you pleasure and joy.

But when it’s time to get serious, good time management practices will help you get done what you need and want to get done, whether those things are sacred or mundane. (Under the Ancient Oaks, 2.26.19)

Liz James writes that Little Women is the Instagram version of Louisa’s childhood; the reality was that the Alcott children were often cold, hungry, and overworked.

Louisa spent her life trying to meet the standard her father set for her, without ever thinking to set a standard by which she might evaluate him. And her diaries tell a story of year after year of miserably struggling to be enough. . . .

We’re still in that exact same pattern. . . . Now we talk of counting carbs and volunteer work and organizing more crap than any human should ever have to take care of. . . . We think maybe, just maybe, if we try a little harder we can make it work.

We need to tell better stories. (Facebook, 2.26.19)