Interdependent Web: For the sake of growth and change

Interdependent Web: For the sake of growth and change

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


For the sake of growth and change

Sarah Stewart writes that safety is “always a percentage and never an absolute.”

Everything we do carries some risk. Some things we think of as ordinary—like driving a car—are in fact dangerous. And some things we think of as potentially harmful—like strenuous exercise—have benefits that outweigh the risks. . . .

We all need a basic feeling of safety to thrive, and I long for a world where everyone has that. But we also need to push our limits to tolerate risk for the sake of growth and change. (Facebook, October 31)

Cecilia Kingman frames privilege as an addiction.

Liberation includes freedom from fear. If those who are addicted to their privilege want to cling to the structures, then let them.

Let them have the buildings, the names, the bank accounts. We will keep our liberation.

Let them have the libraries, the prestigious pulpits, the communion silver. We will keep our faith.

Let them have the expensive hand wrought chalice.

We will keep the flame. (Facebook, November 3)

Jordinn Nelson Long loves an enormous hydrangea in a nearby cemetery “because it was once small.”

Once, long ago, someone planted a hydrangea at the headstone of a loved one. The words have worn away; the headstone itself has seen better days and perhaps better centuries. But this plant lives. And I think we get it wrong if we think it's here primarily for or on behalf of the dead.

THIS plant is about the vigor of the dreams—the flower from the seeds—of the living. (Facebook, November 2)

Geraniums remind Lynn Ungar of a summer spent recovering from lost love.

Long days in the brilliant sunshine
of persistent California drought,
fixing walls, sanding floors,
eating ice cream on the front porch
next to the geraniums,
reassembling the disintegrated
bits of my identity.

Is it strange that I love geraniums—
their flowers the color
of not quite fresh blood,
their furred and rugged leaves,
their sharp, astringent scent of
“buck up and move on”? (Facebook, November 1)

We can do hard things

Doug Muder imagines a Christian sect—the Loganists—that believes people are not meant to live past seventy.

So if you believe that the religious freedom of conservative Christians means that they don’t have to obey anti-discrimination laws—they don’t have to sell cakes to gay couples or provide contraceptives to unmarried women or help gay couples adopt children or even perform an abortion on a woman who will die without it—what about Loganists and age discrimination? Would it be religious persecution to fire a Loganist EMT because he let a elderly patient die? What if he just treated younger people first, because they still have some of their Biblical three-score-and-ten coming, and a 73-year-old happened to die in line? (The Weekly Sift, November 4)

Carl Gregg outlines a reason for hope in a time of despair.

Here’s the thing: no one really knows what the future holds. But we do ourselves and our forebears a disservice when we forget how much unlikely change has already happened. There was no guarantee that abolitionists would win the struggle to end slavery in the nineteenth century, that suffragettes would win the right to vote for women in the early twentieth century, that the freedom riders and so many other racial justice activists would come out on top in the civil rights movement, that LGBTQ+ citizens of this country would achieve same-sex marriage rights. We can do hard things! (Carl Gregg, November 4)

The Facebook dilemma

The Interdependent Web began as a column about UU blogging, but over the years it has expanded to include other forms of online content. For the past few years, as doubts about Facebook’s influence have grown, we have found ourselves in a quandary. Facebook is a mess—and yet that’s where people are, creating valuable content. It ranges from poetry like Lynn Ungar’s (above) to light, community-building conversations like Joanna Fontaine Crawford’s question this week, “What is something practical you own that you would recommend as a gift?” (Facebook, November 6)

Peggy Clarke has been thinking about those of us struggling with our use of Facebook, and proposes that we take the month of January to research other platforms and spend time with non-virtual activities.

On the one hand, this is where everyone is, where social norms are created, where organizing happens, where we build much needed community in this age of isolation. At the same time, FB is collecting and selling our data and bending all kinds of ethical standards to the detriment of both us personally and our democracy which, let’s face it, is struggling mightily. (Facebook, October 28)