Interdependent Web: Finding our way through in a time of heartbreak

Interdependent Web: Finding our way through in a time of heartbreak

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


In a time of heartbreak

Like Isaac Asimov in the mid-1990s, Dan Harper is heartsick about the state of his country.

Bill Clinton eviscerated aid to poor people, George W. Bush spent hundreds of billions of dollars in Iraq while cutting social service spending at home, Barack Obama put more effort into bailing out banks during the Great Recession than helping the poor, and Donald Trump now promotes open contempt of anyone who is not wealthy.

I continue to be a deeply patriotic American, but we are growing less civilized and less humane, and we are departing wildly from our proclaimed traditions. As a loyal American, I grow heartsick. (Yet Another Unitarian Universalist, 7.3.19)

Alaska’s Koch-brothers-funded governor has vetoed large portions of the state’s proposed budget, gutting many crucial state services; Leslie Ahuvah Fails, minister of the UU congregation in Fairbanks, Alaska, assures her fellow Alaskans that “Wherever this is going, we are going there together.” (Facebook, 7.10.19)

Dance to the right, dance to the left

These are anxious times, and Unitarian Universalists have many different theories of what’s going on, and what to do about it.

Andrew Mackay worries that there may be a UU pipeline to the alt-right.

Unitarian Universalism is a big tent, riven with contradictions and tension. It’s the price we pay for not stopping people at the door and demanding they follow a script. But it also means divisions can fester, and people can be taken in dark directions. As a millennial, I’ve seen plenty of people get taken down the alt-right pipeline, even fellow activists. There is a need for vigilance. Don’t leave people behind. (Unspoken Politics, 7.10.19)

Jonathan Tweet believes that social media creates “shame mobs” that feed on outrage, and are particularly damaging to liberal causes and candidates.

If outrage on social media hurts our cause and plays into Russia’s hands, we should stop it. . . . The left’s pattern of letting outrage guide us has failed repeatedly, and we need to do better. (Secular Sunday School, 7.7.19)

David Breeden writes that likemindedness is an illusion.

We as a species don’t understand reality in one single way—and perhaps we don’t understand it at all. . . . the call of having an individual consciousness is to employ it. Which means, each of us will—ideally—parade with an Ism before and while we find our own drummer to march to.

. . . But marching solely in one Ism Parade ultimately requires living an unexamined life. Sure, each of us can do that. But where’s the fun?

Come on. Step out of line. Do a little dance. Tell the Ism Parade to go on without you. (Medium, 7.11.19)

Finding our way through

Jake Morrill explores the concept of post-traumatic growth.

[Humans] show incredible resilience, becoming wiser, kinder, more grateful, etc, as a result of post-traumatic growth. But the growth happens in a particular way. . . . Not a return to normalcy, but an incorporation of what has happened. Not a shattered vase glued together to make a fragile, reconstructed vase, but a shattered vase now reconfigured to make a beautiful mosaic. It’s hard work to make a beautiful mosaic.

I’m thinking this morning of people I know, hard at work, doing that kind of tough, scary, creative mosaic-making work with their lives. (Facebook, 7.11.19)

Scott Wells writes a love letter to the laity.

[You] can have a church without a minister . . . but you can’t have a church without the laity. . . .

And in practical terms, the laity staff the committees, raise the funds, offer counsel, and very often put out the chairs or make the coffee when needed. That great ministry of feeding a household in mourning is the province of the laity. . . . The work of the church is in the hands of the laity, often literally. . . .

So if tempted, don’t ever apologize for being a member of the laity. (Rev. Scott Wells, 7.6.19)