Interdependent Web: A time to smash things

Interdependent Web: A time to smash things

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


Dirty laundry

The Rev. Theresa Novak’s poem suggests different options for dealing with dirty laundry.

If you hang it on the line For the whole world to see The sunlight will bake it clean. (Sermons, Poetry, and Other Musings, May 3)

A time to smash things

The Rev. Madelyn Campbell is disappointed in her white friends’ judgmental comments about Baltimore residents; sometimes, Campbell says, smashing things is a natural response.

Once my husband and I had a fight and I got really angry at him and I had a bowl of spaghetti in my hands, and I wasn’t going to throw it at him, so I smashed it on the floor. And it broke. And made a huge mess. I knew it was going to break and make a huge mess. And I did it anyway. I really just needed to do that. It startled everyone, it disrupted the moment, and it actually led to a solution. (The Widow’s Mite-y Blog, May 2)

Kim Hampton says we need to ask the right question about Freddie Gray’s death: why did police pursue him in the first place?

According to the BPD, Freddie Gray was neither a wanted person nor posing a threat to the public at the time he turned away from the police and started running. The police officers decided to go after Freddie Gray because he made “eye contact” and then ran. . . . So in asking the right question . . . we may then begin to take a hard look at the criminalization of blackness and where that stems from. (East of Midnight, May 1)

The Rev. Gary Kowalski writes that “America has a problem.”

First and foremost, we must collectively admit that racism is a societal problem. We cannot just blame the police without also shouldering a portion of the responsibility for overcoming the legacy of discrimination that continues to make inequality the norm in our country. (Revolutionary Spirits, May 2)

Ministerial formation

Seminarian Claire Curole addresses recent changes in the Ministerial Fellowship Committee’s procedures.

The personal transformative work that is part of the formation process is difficult enough, and looks a little different for every student in formation. We who are called to the work of ministry arrive with diverse strengths and vulnerabilities, gifts and growing edges; the ministries of the 21st century to which we are called demand no less. We need credentialing structures and processes that facilitate the development of the vast resources we bring, not ones that make a difficult process even harder. (The Sand Hill Diary, May 7)

Liz James, a seminarian who is not pursuing fellowship, posted about the credentialing process.

The credentialing process was put in place for good reasons, but it has grown unwieldy over the years and the needs have drastically changed. It is an emperor's new clothes situation, because it's hard to stand up and say "this is ridiculous—we are not getting enough out of all this to justify what is being sacrificed" to the people who will (or won't) be granting you credentialing. (Facebook, May 7)

Bending toward justice

Adam Dyer wonders if white, financially comfortable gay and lesbian couples will abandon activism once marriage equality is legal across the United States.

The question is, will the same happy gay and lesbian couples who embrace and celebrate on the steps of the Supreme Court in victory for their ability to marry and share benefits, then be willing to turn around and travel the 29 miles up Interstate 295 to march in the streets of Baltimore to support their black trans* siblings who are targeted and murdered by police? . . . Will the major donors to Equality California also fund safe spaces for Cambodian LGBT youth in Long Beach? We cannot let the LGBT movement turn into a cultural Detroit, Oakland or Cleveland…abandoned by the people who can now afford to disappear into the suburban mainstream. (Spirituwellness, May 1)

The Rev. Dan Harper has been following marriage equality arguments at the Supreme Court—including Justice Alito’s questions about ancient Greece.

[Legal] marriage today differs radically from legal marriage in ancient Greece. Rather than a contract that was entered into by a prospective spouse on the one hand and the father of a prospective spouse on the other hand, legal marriage today is a contract that is entered into by the two prospective spouses. Furthermore, the ancient Greeks considered marriage a legal agreement between men; by contrast, our conception of marriage allows both women and men to enter into this legal agreement. (Yet Another Unitarian Universalist, May 4)

Saving lives, saving souls

The Rev. Joanna Fontaine Crawford hopes to encourage members of her congregation to be like feral cats—free to follow where their hearts lead, as they love the hell out of the world.

I don't want to corral that energy, I want to stoke it. They say if you feed them, you'll never get rid of them. That sounds pretty good, too. Let's figure out how to feed them, so they keep coming back for the sustenance that will keep them going. And let's, all of us, find our own wild side. We can still be good upstanding responsible citizens, paying our taxes, bringing a casserole to the potluck. (Boots and Blessings, May 1)

The Rev. Amy Zucker Morgenstern describes her congregation’s youth ministry, ending with their core motivation for their work.

All of this is a matter of saving lives and saving souls—not from Hell, since we’re Universalists, but from the earthly hell of fear, pain, and meaninglessness. Since long before Palo Alto’s woes hit the New York Times, our congregation has grappled with the stresses that our local culture puts on teenagers. . . . How can we, as a faith community, ameliorate these problems and offer a counter-cultural alternative to the high-pressure world of Silicon Valley teenagers? . . . That’s what we’re doing when we do youth ministry. (Sermons in Stones, April 30)

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