Blog roundup, Fall 2014

Blog roundup, Fall 2014

Online responses to UU World.


Many Unitarian Universalists participate in lively online discussion of a wide variety of topics. Keep up with the conversation: Read UU World’s blog, The Interdependent Web, which highlights the best blog commentary each week, along with other user-generated content (

General Assembly

Lena Gardner of Spirit, Self, and Journeying attended General Assembly for the first time and could hardly stop weeping during a worship service. “I wept for my ancestors who didn’t make it, and for the ones who persevered, who escaped, who endured, for the ones whose land was stolen away and who watched—and fought—as genocide and torture was called nation building and progress. . . . Somehow grounded in the love of UU theology [the service] delivered a message of hope, endurance, perseverance, and wisdom without sugar coating the past.” (June 26)

Adam Dyer, at Spirituwellness, had a different experience at WaterFire, the GA public witness event. “I watched yellow shirts push past, walk around, and yes, even climb over residents who had been waiting for up to two hours to see this event. From my vantage point among the local crowd, what was intended to be a ‘witness’ turned into more of a ‘display’ and somewhat of a distraction.” (June 29)

Small congregations

The Rev. Dawn Cooley, blogging at Speaking of, was encouraged by reports that most UU congregations are small. “I hope . . . there will be more discussion about how the UUA can more effectively support these smaller congregations (who of-ten feel overlooked) and other emerging covenanted communities.” (April 9)

The Rev. Mary Wellemeyer of Open Road admitted that small congregations ask much of members. “The woman sat in my office and tried to explain. It was just too much, she said. One leadership commitment always led to two more. Or worse, when she signed up to do a piece of a project, she often turned out to be organizing the whole thing. ‘It’s a black hole,’ she said. ‘It sucks you in and never lets you out.’”(May 5)

Community life

Guest posting on The Lively Tradition, the Rev. Erika Hewitt issued a challenge to UUs: “[Far] too often, our people respond to leadership—which is to say, an invitation to see, do, or experience something new— with crossed arms, narrowed eyes, and out-loud wondering what gives that person the right to extend such an invitation. Unitarian Universalists, is this the people we want to be?” (April 30)

Advising us to carry on, and love on, the Rev. Dr. Cynthia Landrum of Rev. Cyn acknowledged that Unitarian Universalism often breaks our hearts: “If you stay in this faith long enough, your heart will be broken. Somebody you loved and trusted in this faith will do something you think is so hurtful and incomprehensible, so wrong-headed, that it will break your heart. Or something will be decided that you just can’t agree with, and it will break your heart. And then, if you stay long enough, it will happen again and again.” (June 5)

Beyond congregations

Andrew Mackay at Unspoken Politics answers criticism of the casual syncretism of contemporary spirituality: “Mobility in the spiritual realm should not be viewed as intrinsically bad. . . . The dynamic behavior of the newest generation may be a move past the sense of obligation and communal pressure to conform and stay in one religious institution.” (June 29)

The Rev. Andy Burnette of Just Wondering responded to the Rev. Dr. Terasa Cooley’s Summer 2014 UU World article, “Into the Beyond.” “[I]f we beg every young adult who comes through our doors to tell us how we should be, we are serving neither the millennials nor Unitarian Universalism well. Are we inviting millennials to learn from us as well as to adapt our faith to their tastes? Are we inviting them into transformative community with us, or asking them how to build monuments to millennial identity?” (June 4)

Doing it wrong

John Beckett of Under the Ancient Oaks unpacked what he means by “doing religion wrong.” “If the primary focus of your religion is on how bad other people are, then you’re doing it wrong. . . . If the primary focus of your religion is pointing out how wrong other people’s religion is, you’re doing it wrong. . . . If your religion tells you human society is fine just the way it is, you’re doing it wrong. . . . If your religion tells you it’s all about you, you’re doing it wrong.” (April 6)

Many UU bloggers joined the #YesAllWomen discussion; the Rev. Dr. Victoria Weinstein of PeaceBang wrote, “I am a strong feminist who loves men and cares deeply about boys. But I notice that my respect and trust in men in what we might call ‘the dating scene’ has plummeted over the past five to ten years as I have been constantly subject to the simmering rage of male frustration in an age of unprecedented female independence and choice.” (May 26)

This article appeared in the Fall 2014 issue of UU World (pages 60–61).

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