Notre Dame: Bearing witness to the grace economy

Notre Dame: Bearing witness to the grace economy

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


Irritated by our culture of snap judgment, Kat Liu responds to the question, “Why didn’t you express your grief over all the other places (that are not in Western Europe) that have been destroyed?"

I do care about Notre Dame more than I do other places that I’ve never been to and in many cases do not know about. . . . I cared a lot more about my own mother dying than I do/did about the deaths of other people’s mothers. . . . It’s just human nature to care more about those to whom we are closest.

If your knowledge of the world’s treasures is so great that you are equally familiar with all of them, or your equanimity is so great that you feel equally for all regardless, more power to you. Still, imo, one should never chastise other people for feeling compassion, even if you think that compassion is not great enough. (Facebook, 4.15.19)

Jake Morrill sees the fire at Notre Dame as an invitation to grieve all that is being destroyed, and to resolve to protect the sacred, wherever it lives.

Yesterday, with the fire, maybe some awe was reawakened. The reminder of what’s precious. And maybe it can inspire in us not only the resolve to protect what is Holy, but also the capacity to defend our neighbors and our children from acts of desecration that diminish us all.

On this Holy Week, there’s solidarity in tears and in grieving hearts for a world that can seem ruled by the feckless forces of devastation, in an age that seems to bring loss after loss. It’s not all there is. It’s not the end of the story. It’s just what’s true today, at this part of the story, with so much of what’s yet to come depending on if we’ll let our scarred-over hearts stay a little tender and full, like they were yesterday. (Facebook, 4.16.19)

Tina Porter imagines something new emerging from the cathedral’s ashes.

Maybe she was just

Holding up
the ceiling
and the ceremony
and the secrets
and the hegemony
for 800 years
very well might have been
her undoing. . . .

Let her undoing
be the beginning
of a new era for faith
where love of the stranger
means the welcome of
heretics and saints
and all wanderers of the word. (Tina L. Porter, 4.16.19)

Sean Dennison writes that “Sometimes tragedies are not born of drama, but of a small errant spark.”

I believe everyone was doing their very best. After all, they knew they were working in one of the world’s holy places. They were likely working with great care. And yet, something went wrong. Maybe not even caused by human hands. Maybe just a short in a wire. Random. Simple. Painful. (Facebook, 4.15.19)

A key part of Catharine Clarenbach’s ministry is to testify—to tell the brutal truth of the chaos her mind sows—in order to free others from the silent shame of their own stories. In this week’s post, she writes about her struggles with money, including the severe consequences of forgetting to pay a speeding ticket.

Chaos. Chaos. Chaos.

Just writing all these words, recalling and recording all these events, I feel my stomach clench. Are these scars, or is there still woundedness there? Does it matter? Is it helpful for me to be authentic for you in this way? I have intimations that it does, and that is why I offer these words to you. (The Way of the River, 4.16.19)

For Aaron White, his garden is an Easter metaphor.

Everything in here is made of death. The decay of things that used to live is feeding what wants to live now. . . . This whole thing is a grace economy. . . . The failures of last year feed this year. . . . The rain falls (or doesn’t); the sun shines (or doesn’t)—and none of it depends on how righteous the gardener has been (thank God).

The dark soil beneath us was never dead—it’s the most alive thing in here. Death doesn’t make sense in this economy. It’s all self-giving creation, over and over again. How lucky I am to bear witness. (Possibility Conspiracy, 4.18.19)