Interdependent Web: When institutions feel fragile, let's debate policy, someone just right for the moment

Interdependent Web: When institutions feel fragile, let's debate policy, someone just right for the moment

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


When institutions feel fragile

Asked to explain her choice not to pursue ordination, Liz James writes that it all comes down to the fact that “Long standing institutions pretty much by definition have to become structures that put the needs of the institutions first.”

It’s clear that the ultra expensive and time intensive UU credentialing process creates people who must serve wealthy contexts in order to pay back loans. It creates people [who] are bound both economically and in terms of self worth to their vocations in ways that make it hard for them to shift (or be shifted) out if it turns out to not be a good fit. Also, I found the credentialing process to be almost sociopathically indifferent to the needs of my family. Academia is, as they say, a self licking ice cream cone. (Facebook, 5.1.19)

Robin Bartlett describes the anxiety she is witnessing in the UUA.

There are constant calls to “do better and be better”. . . . I see careful attempts to draw lines that define who’s in and who’s out. . . . Our institutions are so very precarious these days. All of them are. And when institutions feel fragile, our response is to anxiously write rules, draw lines in the sand, and close rank.

But God doesn’t. God erases the lines we draw. God loves the people we don’t. We might believe we “must do better,” but God *knows* we can only be exactly who we are. God is good, all the time. We are not. The Gospel is not that we can “be better,” but that we are loved anyway. (Facebook, 5.2.19)

Let’s debate policy

John Beckett provides a nine-point “reasonable liberal’s guide” to the 2020 Democratic primary.

1. The stakes: any Democrat vs. Donald Trump
2. Vote blue no matter who – except some people won’t
3. It’s a primary – let’s debate policy
4. The time to turn up skeletons is now
5. More people vote feelings than policy
6. Purity is impossible, but people will tell you who they are
7. Experience matters, but only up to a point
8. Representation matters – good governance matters more
9. No one is perfect – we have to choose someone (Under the Ancient Oaks, 4.30.19)

Doug Muder chooses justice liberalism over charity liberalism—and doesn’t care that he might be called a socialist.

Our era’s scare-word is socialism, but it means roughly what the archbishop was talking about: building a society where a certain level of dignity and opportunity is a basic right, and does not require that you meet the standards of some paternal benefactor, who can withdraw patronage if you begin to appear undeserving.

I don’t just want to maintain the well-behaved poor at some subsistence level, while the productive power of the Earth and of our complex society accumulates in a few hands. I want our collective inheritance — the planet and the productive legacy of past generations — to work for all of us. If that earns me the title of socialist, well then, so be it. (The Weekly Sift, 4.29.19)

Someone just right for the moment

Jake Morrill smiles through tears, remembering someone who died too young, someone “who knew how to get into the kind of trouble that makes you smile.”

Last night, after living with cancer this last year, Josh died at only age 29. One of our summer camp kids who’d become a wise young man with that big heart and goofy smile he always had, . . . gone way too soon. A few of the posts today from camp-people who were a lot closer to him through the years have made me teary and also smile, remembering. One of the last things he did last week was to set up a scholarship fund in his memory for camp, so even now that he’s gone, the good-hearted mayhem will go on. (Facebook, 4.27.19)

After a difficult day of travel, Erika Hewitt found someone “just right for the moment”—her late-night Uber driver, Jesús.

By the time he dropped me off in the South End, I insisted on an abracito and he gave me the standard cheek-kiss. . . .

I live for moments of connection: moments when—when we might otherwise feel adrift, lonely, lost—we encounter someone *just right* for the moment: someone who reminds us of who we are, or what we love, or that we love the same things. (Facebook, 4.24.19)