Interdependent Web: Fire, rage, and hope

Interdependent Web: Fire, rage, and hope

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

Heather Christensen


Fire, rage, and hope

Andrew Hidas attributes our constant sense of foreboding to “the profound effect the president of the United States has on me and my fellow citizens, on the collective psyche we inhabit and draw from in our dealings of the day.”

For better and in the present case, for very much worse, the president serves as a kind of spiritual icon and reference point for the population at large, and at the very least, that person carries a solemn duty to comport himself (and finally, soon enough, herself?) with a modicum of dignity and restraint.

Instead, the current inhabitant of the office regularly demonstrates the id unleashed, freed from traditional bounds of decorum or responsibility for projecting even a shred of kindness and inspiration in the public square. Anger and aggression, vituperation and invective are the coins of his realm, and the projection of those values through countless daily outbursts has untold coarsening, dispiriting effects on individuals and the wider cultural conversation. (traversing, October 12)

Doug Muder turns the “Trump being Trump” messaging back on Republicans upset by Trump’s abandonment of our Kurdish allies in Syria.

This is who Trump is and who he’s always been. Betraying people who have trusted him is just Trump being Trump.

A trust-is-for-suckers theme runs through Trump’s entire life. . . .

Why would anyone expect him to stand by people who (in his view) have already done everything for him that they’re going to do? In his eyes, that’s a loser move. He’s never shown that kind of loyalty before, so why would he start now? (The Weekly Sift, October 14)

David Breeden presents humanism in seven propositions, beginning with “People matter more than ideas. Always.”

Humanists see people as of central concern not because of our specialness as a species but because of our capacity to both heal and destroy ourselves, the planet, and all living things. (Medium, October 16)

Nathan Ryan is heartbroken that nearly 20,000 residents of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, have voted to break away and form their own city—a decision that will have profound impacts on the remaining inhabitants of Baton Rouge.

This vote is a shadow. We have not yet reconciled centuries of racism and violence (hell, we can’t even admit to much of it). Until we do that work, we’re going to continue to chase that shadow.

A note to people in the rest of the country: you’ve got plenty of your own racism shadows to face. Ours is just more obvious. If you plan to condemn this in an attempt to find your own racial absolution, please refrain. (Facebook, October 13)

David Carl Olson mourns the death of his member of Congress, Representative Elijah Cummings.

Rep. Cummings had a written letter of understanding with BRIDGE Maryland, the congregation-based community organization First Unitarian helped found, and tempered his honest assessment of what was possible with his deep faith in what we can aspire to and accomplish. He loved our city and the people he served, he loved his family and his faith, and he loved democracy and was willing to fight for it. This is such a loss for our country. (Facebook, October 17)

How we live matters

During the warm-up time in her Crossfit workout, Sarah Stewart finds a new mind inside her that says, “You can do this . . . . It won’t be easy, but it’s doable.”

This is the honest mind, the working mind, the beginner mind that is hiding inside my bravado and laziness. “There’s a way through anything,” this mind says. “If you start and keep going you will finish. You only have to worry about you. You’re better than you used to be because of days like this. You have come far and yet you have much to learn. Just keep going.”

This mind, which is so useful for spiritual work and family life and accomplishing any difficult task, is always to be found at the gym. This mind says there is no such thing as failure, only learning. It is for the presence of this mind that I keep coming back. (Facebook, October 15)

On a cold, wet night, Jordinn Nelson Long finds a warm and gracious welcome inside the walls of the congregation she serves.

We see and celebrate each other by turning on the lights, making a space warm, thinking about needs and making a welcome. We still, as a holy and human gesture, offer one another something to drink. What gratitude for the simplicity of what we can meaningfully do for one another. What gracious humanity lives just behind our coffee service.

Last night I was handed not just coffee, but a microphone. "And here's Reverend Jordinn—she always has something good to say." I laughed and said "no pressure"—and then I told them what I saw there, among them, that evening. I told them what we did, together, before a word was ever spoken. I told them that our humanity in welcoming one another well matters—matters now, matters much, matters more, even when night comes early and rain falls hard and the world feels like too much to take. (Facebook, October 15)