Interdependent Web: American-style religion

Interdependent Web: American-style religion

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


American-style religion

The Rev. Dr. David Breeden puts a different spin on the rise of the “nones.”

The US is a land where Jesus speaks to anyone who will listen. . . . Jesus talks in the sort of trailer parks I grew up in. Jesus stalks Walmart, where bibles, prophylactics, semi-automatic weapons, and whiskey are only a bounced-check away. . . .

The rise of the nones—the unchurched DIY followers of Jesus, Buddha, Patanjoli, and any number of other charismatic figures (or, what-the-hey, all of the above)—neither spells doom for Christian orthodoxy nor presages the rise of the rational secular hordes. It’s merely the DIY impulse that brought you the First, Second, and Third Great Awakenings. Welcome to the Fourth. And the Age of Aquarius and the Second or Third Coming, for that matter. (Quest for Meaning, May 28)

Patrick Murfin writes about Cabaret Church, a festival happening this week at Tree of Life UU Congregation in McHenry, Illinois.

Cabaret Church. . . . will celebrate three aspects of a new and vital church—art, compassion, and resistance. The arts are an expression of spirituality made concrete and thus the day will feature performers in many styles and genres. Compassion is the heart of religion which calls on the recognition of the common humanity of all. Resistance is enacting compassion to make the world a healthier and fairer place against all the social conventions that seek to separate people and set them against each other. (Heretic, Rebel, a Thing to Flout, May 28)

The thing about church

Tina Porter acknowledges that church is a “container larger than any of those who enter it.”

The thing about church is

it teaches you love

even when you don’t want the lesson

or the addition of souls

to the diorama of your life (Ugly Hats, May 22)

The Rev. Dawn Cooley urges the UUA to move away from charging dues based on a congregation’s number of members.

Our financial stewardship Fair Share amount to our Association should not be based on membership because that encourages us to not count those who are unable to contribute at a particular level. And, after time, these folks who are not counted become unseen as well. They fall off our radar as leadership changes. And we don’t even realize what we have lost. (Speaking of, May 28)

Living into change

The Rev. Dr. Victoria Weinstein offers advice to those of us whose bodies are changing.

Life is hard and demanding. Sometimes pizza and buttered popcorn seem like friends on another blizzardy night. And then you emerge into the sunshine of the summer and say, “My, my, that pizza definitely was my friend at the time but right now these walking shoes and this dog leash and that path by the beach is a better friend. Let me spend my time with them today.”

You can be, and are, beautiful as you are now.

Find the beauty and show it off. (Beauty Tips for Ministers, May 25)

The Rev. James Ford notes that it’s often hard to tell where one thing ends, and another begins.

So, Jan and I have been on a slow roll toward retirement and moving home to California. What markers are the marker? When we announced our retirements? When we sold our home in Rhode Island? When we purchased our condo in Long Beach? When I actually leave the church in the middle of June. . . ?

The mind spirals trying to find actual hard moments before which was one thing and after which is another.

Even though they exist. (Monkey Mind, May 28)

The Rev. Amy Zucker Morgenstern concludes a three-part series about changes in her writing and preaching.

The third shift in my writing and preaching in the past several years can be summed up simply: more courage. I’m accessing deeper truths in myself and speaking about the things that I see as most important to me. When the writing gets scary–when it’s leading me to question things I’ve taken for granted, or to say things that might be hard to hear, or to feel scary emotions–instead of backing off, I keep going. On my best weeks, I’m giving people the most important things I’ve discovered. (Sermons in Stone, May 28)

The Rev. Madelyn Kelstein Campbell celebrates the UUA’s change of address.

Last week I had the pleasure of attending the First Year Ministers Seminar at 24 Farnsworth. I loved being there. I am delighted in this move.

Don’t get me wrong. I love history – I love old buildings (although 24 Farnsworth is old) and I love stately. But I think it’s not always the best choice. Sometimes it’s better to be with the people. (The Widow’s Mitey-Blog, May 26)

Paths to peace

Sara Lewis, who serves as the DRE for the Olympia (WA) UU Congregation, offers suggestions for parents about talking to their children about racism, violence, and the Black Lives Matter protests.

As Unitarian Universalists, we often quote Theodore Parker about the moral arc of the universe being long, but it bends toward justice. It’s a lovely thought, as it can be so discouraging to look at the long arc of history and see that the just world and the beloved community we dream of is still so far away from the reality we live in. But the only way that arc will bend is if we make it bend. We must be justice-makers, and we must also raise the next generation of justice-makers if the world will change. (The Children’s Chalice, May 23)

Karen Johnston has made walking to the New England Peace Pagoda a personal Memorial Day tradition. (Irrevspeckay, May 25)

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