Interdependent Web: Running like Indiana Jones

Interdependent Web: Running like Indiana Jones

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


Future church

The Rev. Dr. Victoria Weinstein addresses the dramatic changes happening in religious communities, and particularly in worship.

Because everything is changing so fast, even those of us in the profession can’t keep up with the framework, the lingo or the expectations. The fancy name for all of this is adaptive leadership, which is a nice way of saying that we’re all running like Indiana Jones a few yards ahead of the boulder of cultural change that threatens to flatten us at any moment. . . . (PeaceBang, May 14)

The Rev. Adam Eliot believes that new ministers should prepare to be bivocational.

Where can we continue to give to world while our spirit simultaneously gets filled? If my church said they didn't need me full time, I would probably attempt being a busker/brewmaster/ukulele-maker/baker. Then I would narrow it down. None of these are taught in seminary. All of them take time to perfect. All of them cost money to get started and a while to build up a customer base (yes, even buskers). But I would love the work just like I love the ministry. (Burbania Posts, May 15)

The Rev. Scott Wells writes that, if we don’t want to downsize church, we need to change how people perceive the value of religious community.

So what’s the solution? It’s making the experience of the church more desirable than the cost. The financial cost, true, but also of time, patience, labor, expertise and reputation. This last may be the hardest. Like climate change that melts the permafrost, releasing methane accelerating the warming—mull on that simile for a moment—if someone feels like a sucker for participating in a church, no cost savings, no special programming, no reasoned (or emotional) appeal will make it seem like a good idea. (Boy in the Bands, May 14)

Mr. Barb Greve shares a list of formats for UU religious education—some currently in use, others dreams that may someday become reality. (Barb’s Bantering, May 17)

Moments of awakening

The Rev. Sam Trumbore thinks he’s supportive of the Black Lives Matter movement—until he catches himself laughing at an inappropriate joke.

Humor often finds its power walking the line of insensitivity, connecting things about which we have concerns and anxieties, the so-called, politically incorrect. If I had been forced to encounter micro-aggressions on a daily basis I doubt I would have laughed at all and would have immediately told ‘J’ that it was offensive and why.

Moments of awakening like this are what really matter. (Rev. Sam Trumbore, May 20)

Starr Austin explores the interior space she discovers by sitting in meditation.

I suspect that somewhere between the shadow and the soul, that place we fear so much, is the place where we find our power, the power to be fully human. We don’t reach this growth because we embraced the shadows but because we sat with them. We stripped away all the distractions of ego and day to day living and really sat with those parts of self we’ve been trying to squash. This place is ideal for growing into our authentic selves. It’s fertile ground. (Haul Water, Chop Wood, May 21)

The Rev. Catherine Clarenbach gives a “magical reading” of her recent ordination.

Members of the assembly, representing the community at large, stand in layer after layer around me, many rows deep into the sanctuary. Colleague after colleague. Beloved after beloved. Some words were said, but mostly I remember the power, mostly I remember the love. (Nature’s Path, May 20)

Spiritual practice

The Rev. Andrew Weber has been trying to make his communications more personal.

Here are steps I have tried to take: If texting or e-mailing, take a brief moment to think of the person or people I am communicating with. This helps me to be aware and mindful of another human being in the communication.

When possible, make it more personal. If a letter would be more appropriate, get a card and stamp. If calling works, pick up the phone instead of e-mailing. If an in-person meeting can work, go to a coffee shop. (Drive Like a Minister, May 18)

The Rev. Dr. David Breeden’s spiritual practice is writing—a practice he learned from Allen Ginsberg.

Ginsberg taught that the writing of poetry itself is a meditative practice. A discipline. A way of getting into the here and now and quoting down. So, since 1982, I have sat down every morning if at all possible and taken a few breaths and meditated. Then, I write. As with Buddhist meditation, writing can be a way to focus on the present moment, the here and now. (Quest for Meaning, May 21)

The Rev. Dan Harper prefers to get his “theological fix” from poetry rather than academic writing.

When I started listing some of the poems by Unitarian Universalist poets which have most influenced my theology, I realized that I prefer poets who are mystics and Transcendentalists. . . . . I’ll bet there are other people out there who get their theology in poetry. If you’re one of them, which poems have most influenced your theological thinking? If you happen to be a Unitarian Universalist, which poems by Unitarian Universalists are your theological mainstays? (Yet Another Unitarian Universalist, May 15)

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