Interdependent Web: How not to destroy ourselves

Interdependent Web: How not to destroy ourselves

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


How not to destroy ourselves

Gretchen Haley plans to take her kids to Denver’s climate strike to show them “another way to respond to our personal sense of loss and grief,” one that moves toward feelings, rather than shutting them down.

[I want them] to know that they are not alone—there’s a massive community of people out there who are also heartbroken, outraged, and ready to lead our country and our planet in an entirely new way of survival. A survival that prioritizes staying together—in the tears, in the heartache, in the terror. A survival that uses that heartache to motivate us to do better—not in some distant future of some future election cycle—but now. (Another Possibility, September 17)

We don’t know why we haven’t yet encountered intelligent life beyond our planet, but one conjecture haunts Meredith Garman: “It is the nature of intelligent life to destroy itself.”

Intelligence emerges in response to competition for scarce resources. . . . When that ancient competitive, aggressive drive to consume resources, extend longevity, and reproduce is suddenly paired with powerful new technology: boom. The species destroys itself through environmental destruction or super-powerful weapons, or at least blows itself back to a pre-technological stage. That's the conjecture: that any species on a trajectory of evolving increasing intelligence will necessarily figure out how to destroy itself before it figures out how not to.

If true, it would explain why no extraterrestrials have colonized the galaxy. Perhaps this self-destruction has already happened on billions of planets. Perhaps it is now happening here. (The Liberal Pulpit, September 16)

A theology of trauma

As a prison and hospital chaplain, Justin Almeida is exploring “ a theology of trauma as a response to the challenge of theodicy.”
I experience the universe as created in trauma, with an explosion so violent it manifested both space and time. The Earth was formed in trauma over eons of heat, cold, collision and eruption. Life evolves in violence, needing to consume resources and other living beings in order to survive and thrive. . . .

[What] if, instead of blessing trauma, God speaks from creation itself in the midst of trauma? Through this theological lens the holy invites humanity, from our primordial depths in creation, to choose goodness despite trauma. . . . . Which means responding to trauma, not in reciprocation of atrocity, but with connection, healing and growth. In doing so, we dare to swim in the powerful currents of the Spirit of life and love. (Necessary but not sufficient, September 15)

Am I willing to be changed?

David Miller writes that living into covenantal relationships is a particularly UU form of spirituality, and offers questions to help deepen its practice.

Am I willing not to have to be right? Am I being the change I wish to see in the world, and that means really acting the way I would like others to act? Am I willing to be changed? And finally, can I remember to ask the question, “What is the most loving thing I can do or say right now?” (Facebook, September 17)

When Adam Dyer—a gay, black, UU minister—asked Michael Erik Dyson a question about sexuality and suicide in the black church, Dyson dismissed the question, and talked instead about racism in the UUA.

What I take issue with is that as he reminded everyone about UU racism, Dyson also said that he would rather choose to be in a black space and have to hold his tongue on certain things (my paraphrase) than deal with the racism of being in a white church space. The implication here being that I could somehow make the same choice to be quiet about being gay and serve a black church if I chose to, or that I was some kind of black impostor. This is the same offensive language that was used by people who encouraged me to stay in the closet when I was a teenager. It is literally the same harm that people on the panel were saying needs to end. It is the same response that drives some young people to suicide. This entirely unhelpful response to self-examination is exactly what prompted my question. I would have left his church. (spirituwellness, September 13)

Engaging political realities

Doug Muder describes what he thinks will happen with healthcare if the Democrats regain executive and legislative power.

As we saw with ObamaCare, the program will be whatever it needs to be to get the last few votes. In other words, even with Democratic majorities and the elimination of the Senate filibuster, it is the 50th Democratic senator and the 220th Democratic representative who will call the tune. They will be moderates from swing districts.

So one way or the other, the program will get scaled back to a public option. If that program is allowed to go forward without sabotage (as Trump has been sabotaging ObamaCare), the public option will gradually gain public trust, setting up an eventual universal program that may well resemble Medicare for All. (The Weekly Sift, September 16)

Diana McLean pleads with our government to “return the children.”

Six years ago today, my son was among a group of 85 fifth grade students airlifted out of their outdoor education camp experience by the National Guard, after several days trapped at the camp due to severe flooding in Colorado. . . .

In 2013, our government returned my son to me unharmed.

In 2019, I pray that we will find a way to return the stolen [refugee] children to their families—but they are not unharmed. It is already too late for that. (Poetic Justice, September 14)