Interdependent Web: Learning from history

Interdependent Web: Learning from history

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


Learning from history

Jake Morrill tells a story about Arizona Officer and other members of the Oak Ridge UU Church in the 1950s and ’60s.

When Ms. Officer’s husband died, in early 1958, the Unitarian Church began to support her with plans for his burial. But the cemetery refused. It was only then that the mostly-white members of the Church learned something that African-American Oak Ridgers already knew: the cemetery was whites-only. . . .After that, in support of Ms. Officer, members of the Unitarian Church launched a campaign to integrate the cemetery, including purchasing plots for themselves, as a way to show that integration wouldn't mean loss of business for the cemetery. . . .

That story can be told as a story of how noble the white Unitarians were back then, buying up cemetery plots. But it's also a story of how often white people can be unaware of how pervasive and long-lasting the effects of racism can be. (Facebook, January 11)

Doug Muder looks at Trump’s actions through the lens of how “normal presidents” related to Congress, the American people, and our allies.

Think about what [Trump’s] statements do, relative to what we would expect from any previous president. They feed a cult of personality around Trump. . . . He wields power as a personal possession, not in trust from the American people or overseen by Congress. America’s allies are not equals, they are vassal states that he need not consult, but can make demands on.

He makes no appeal for unity, and does not reach out to the opposition party. . . . He is leading us down a path that may well end up in war, without seeking approval from Congress or even trying to make a case to anyone other than the minority of the country that supports him.

No previous president would do such a thing. (The Weekly Sift, January 13)

Joanna Fontaine Crawford urges us to learn from recent history and to watch out for online manipulation.

There is a concerted effort to manipulate our understanding of reality. The news stories we read, and even the photos we’re shown online, may be retouched, slanted, or outright lies. I don’t think it’s hyperbole to say that in 2020, especially with the impeachment proceedings and the national election, doing the work of determining what are the facts, and then sharing that information with others, is a task we must commit ourselves to doing. . . .

Alarmed? Well, good. I think we need to develop a healthy mistrust of what we read and see online. (Live Oak UU, January 9)

The brokenness we carry

Karen Hering wonders what might happen if we began to accept our brokenness, rather than trying to avoid it.

Today, in our disrupted era of so much brokenness, writ large across the globe and also as personal as it comes, I am wondering, what could it mean to notice and accept the broken cracks within and around us all as the gift they might be? Not denying the pain and grief caused by brokenness, but accepting that neither life nor love, relationship nor growth is possible without it. (Karen Hering, January 10)

Catharine Clarenbach remembers a time in her life when she had left one way of living, without knowing yet what would come next.

I knew I was made of fire, fueled by fire, I knew I was touched gently by the softness of the Divine, and pushed forward by the fire in my belly.

But I was also wounded. I had spent four years with a community that, while beautiful, powerful, and helpful in so many ways, could not be a long-term home for me. I needed time to rest. To try to integrate what had happened to me, what I had chosen. What I needed to shed.

And it would take years for all that to happen, the integration, healing, shedding, and understanding. (The Way of the River, January 10)

Helen Rose writes the Death card in Tarot rarely points to physical death.

It means
Letting go
Being scared
And daring greatly (The Journey So Far, January 12)