Interdependent Web: The fugue repeats and turns and leads you on

Interdependent Web: The fugue repeats and turns and leads you on

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


The fugue repeats and turns and leads you on

Lynn Ungar writes about J. S. Bach’s unfinished work, The Art of Fugue.

I like to think of the great man in his declining years,
tinkering with melodies, turning them
this way and that, building with small blocks
a laborious legacy for children to practice 
centuries on. I like to think of how the fugue
repeats and turns and leads you on
around the corner to something 
which is the same, but different, which is
the nature of every journey. (Facebook, 6.24.19)

Stop loitering in the doorway

Amy Beltaine reminds us that climate change does not affect everyone equally.

[When] someone calls us to understand that climate chaos is something that impacts the marginalized, it is an invitation. How about we amplify the invitation. Add to it. Retweet. Boost.

How about we re-member the body of the earth. How about we receive the urgency and use it to fuel justice.

Stop loitering in the doorway. Come on in! (Facebook, 6.22.19)

Doug Muder notes that America’s immigrant detention camps are “supposed to be unpleasant.”

It’s not just that systems are overwhelmed (though they are) or that rogue employees misbehave (though they do). Mistreatment of these immigrants is intentional. We’re making an example of them in order to teach the oppressed people of the world a lesson: “Don’t come here, because we’ll be as nasty to you as we’re being to them.” (The Weekly Sift, 6.24.19)

Fifty years after Stonewall, Carl Gregg remembers the day the Supreme Court ruled in Lawrence v. Texas—the same day that Strom Thurmond died.

I still remember the exact words that went through my mind that morning: “Wow. The world can change. You can have legal gay sex in Texas, and Strom Thurmond is dead.” (I should add, as we say in South Carolina, “Bless his heart.”) Reading the historical records, it is clear that similar sentiments passed through the minds of many people fifty years ago upon learning the news of the Stonewall Uprisings: Wow. The world can change. We don’t have to passively accept discrimination. Together we can work to build the world we dream about—and to turn dreams into deeds. (Carl Gregg, 6.27.19)

The call to be transformed

Many Unitarian Universalists are also discussing the distribution of a controversial new book at GA by the minister of the Spokane congregation. The Gadfly Papers: Three Inconvenient Essays by One Pesky Minister, by Todd Eklof, quickly provoked denunciations by several hundred ministers, by DRUUMM (an organization of people of color), and by the leadership of LREDA (the professional organization of religious educators). See news coverage of the controversy and links to the letters from these groups in our Media Roundup.

UU bloggers have responded to the book and the controversy about it in a variety of ways. Cynthia Cane urges UUs to read The Gadfly Papers (A Jersey Girl in Kentucky, 6.26.19). Chris Rothbauer explains why they distrust Eklof’s accounts of recent events (Medium, 6.25.19). Scott Wells reads the book and observes, “I think both Eklof and his accusers suffer that common affliction of wanting to be right more than being successful” (Rev. Scott Wells, 6.25.19). Theresa I. Soto says it’s a “ racist book,” “full of hate, including transphobia, ableism, and sexism” (Medium, 6.24.19). Erik Walker Wikstrom signed the open letter from white UU ministers criticizing the book, but says he plans to read it“because as a person who identifies as white I think it is incumbent upon me to know what other white folks are saying, what ‘case’ they're making to push back against the call to be transformed in and through the work of transforming our society” (A Minister’s Musings, 6.25.19).

The raging waters of ‘We’

Like many UUs, Jake Morrill spent time this week in interminable airport lines.

If I am in fact screaming, and I’m not saying I am, but say that I was? It’s only on the inside, which I think most people, especially here in the line, would likely view as an admirably pro-social move, and “Screaming on the Inside: the Jake Morrill Story,” could be what they call the straight-to-cable movie they make about all of this—the beleaguered homeward-bound traveler, the sad bird chirping frantically in the duct-work who befriends him, and the larger birds of prey in the distance, who, while surely tempted, never quite get it together to swarm that poor man in the line at the airport to peck at his head. (Facebook, 6.23.19)

As she waits for a bus in Spokane at General Assembly, Cynthia Landrum encounters another UU, whom she’s never met.

Her: I like your shoes. How did you get them to match your shirt so well?
Me: Well I made the shoes.
Her: Have you heard of Zentangle?
Me: Yes. These are Zentangled.
Her: Well you're a UU. Did you ever read the article on Zentangle in the UU World?
Me: I WROTE the article in the UU World!
Her: You're kidding! That article changed my life!!! (Facebook, 6.23.19)

The theme for this year’s General Assembly was “The Power of We.” Rodney Lemery suggests that “Much like the Spokane Falls, the raging waters of the ‘We’ has the potential to change us every second of our lives.”

The water of deep relationships hits the jagged rocks of social location and privilege and begins to alter them, smoothing them over; making it easier to share space, power and Love without threatening erasure of the other. In order for this to happen, we must enter the raging waters of deep relationship with one another and risk being smoothed by the waters of “We.” (Church of the Larger Fellowship, 6.27.19)

Also referencing this year’s General Assembly theme, Theresa Novak offers a prayer of solidarity.

Pray for some courage
Hope for some grace
We’ll water the seeds with our tears
And warm the ground with our rage
Until we can finally harvest
The power of we (Sermons, Poetry, and other Musings, 6.22.19)