Interdependent Web: ‘Safe’ is not the only thing we live for

Interdependent Web: ‘Safe’ is not the only thing we live for

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


‘Safe’ is not the only thing we live for

For Jordinn Nelson Long, the risks of venturing out—and also of staying home—are high; she and her family are looking forward to a brief vacation, despite its hazards.

I am high risk, and we are taking this situation very seriously. But I also believe in quality of life, and I weigh it heavily. Perhaps we will find creative and community building ways to respond if we can acknowledge that being safe is not the only thing that people live for. . . .

I am looking forward to taking the onramp that leads to the highway, wheels on pavement, familiarity behind me, the future, unknown, opening as a landscape before me. (Raising Faith, May 26)

Andrew Hidas begins his personal risk assessment by telling himself, “Don’t do anything overtly stupid.”

But within that corral, I try to balance the reasonable precautions advanced by experts with the acute knowledge that I won’t get any “lost” days back in this life (no one does, but age brings that realization painfully closer).

Which means that every dinner and journey and hug and performance and hike and bantering conversation and beer I am not experiencing now with my beloveds won’t really be “made up,” though with hope and luck and intention, they will return for encores at some blessed and gratifying point in the future. (Traversing, May 23)

Jane Dwinell’s partner, Sky, is now a permanent resident of a memory care facility, rather than being there for respite care; Jane and Sky speak several times a week on the phone.

I never know what he will say. I listen and make appropriate comments. I am grateful that he still knows who I am, and I am sad that we can’t have a real conversation anymore. That was something else I loved about being with Sky—we’ve had years of interesting conversations.

But, he did say something else yesterday that was pure Sky, and I think wise words for all of us at this uncertain time: “It’s foolish to try and control everything. It just makes for more heartache and more pain.” (Alzheimer’s Canyon, May 24)

A fierce love for the people

Joan Javier-Duval has one guiding principle for deciding when to meet virtually, and when to meet in-person.

It is a fierce love for the people I serve as well as the other people with whom we share this planet that motivated me and the leadership of my congregation to quickly move to suspend in person worship and programs and close our church building in mid-March. It is the same fierce love that motivates me now to carefully consider science along with our deepest desire for human connection in cautiously and thoughtfully weighing if, when, and how in person ministry can happen in the midst of a pandemic. (Facebook, May 23)

Adam Dyer describes the challenges that religious leaders face—challenges the president is in no way equipped to understand.

The challenge that has faced worship leaders has not been simple. How do we keep communities united, how do we perform important rituals, how do we keep our communities engaged and cognizant of their spiritual lives and how do we do it at a distance? What are the messages people need to hear that incorporate hope and a sense of continuity and safety? What are the innovations that people will be willing to receive while managing the broader trauma and crisis surrounding them in this moment? How do we help our communities continue to feel loved, by each other and by their faith?

Faith leadership is serious business. Having a carnival barker confuse the issue of faith in public with his pandering for votes from people whose faith he doesn’t begin to understand has the potential to do actual harm. (spirituwellness, May 23)

Better things to use a brain for

Jake Morrill writes that “complaining about things and people is a double-edged sword.”

For instance, if I was to share my displeasure regarding some attention-seeking national figure, you may or may not learn something new about that person. But you’d definitely direct some of your attention toward him, and spend some energy getting worked up about him. Attention-seeking behavior is rewarded by attention. Doesn’t matter what kind of attention. It works well for them. And I just think there are probably other, better things a person could use a brain for. Like how we can create a better, kinder, more sustainable society. (Facebook, May 23)

Joanna Fontaine Crawford points out the differences between being responsiblefor, and being responsible to.

I am responsible for myself. It is my responsibility to manage my own anxieties, self-regulate, and work on increasing my emotional maturity.

I am responsible to others. . . . There are medical professionals, grocery workers, first responders, sanitation workers, and others who have taken on jobs that make them responsible to our larger community, which includes me. And so I am responsible to them, to limit the spread of coronavirus. I am responsible to them in other ways, too, to advocate for fair working conditions and wages. (Boots and Blessings, May 27)

Dan Harper suggests that since virtual meetings are likely to continue, we should get better at running them.

Before COVID-19 hit, our Palo Alto congregation was already doing hybrid meetings—some people in person, some people online—and I expect after COVID-19, there will be more committee and Board members who opt for the virtual option.

The bottom line: since virtual meetings are here to stay, we should learn how to run great virtual meetings. (Yet Another Unitarian Universalist, May 27)