Blog roundup, Spring 2016

Blog roundup, Spring 2016

Highlights from the Unitarian Universalist blogosphere, October 2015 to January 2016.


Many Unitarian Universalists participate in lively online discussion. Keep up with the conversation: Read UU World’s Editors’ Blog, where you’ll find links to the best commentary about Unitarian Universalism each week.

Black and white together

Kim Hampton of East of Midnight challenged mostly-white UU congregations to be aware of the experiences of people of color—both members and visitors—during conversations about racism: “Something is going on in UU churches, and I’m not sure congregations are ready for it. And people of color are going to be hurt in the process. How are UU congregations supporting people of color in their midst during this time of learning for the majority of white UUs?” (October 19)

When his congregation’s Black Lives Matter banner was vandalized, the Rev. Andy Burnette of Just Wondering wrote: “ Vandalism of a banner pales in comparison to the theft and destruction of black bodies in the United States. . . . [We] are called by Unitarian Universalist values to continue, and over time to deepen, our witness for justice.” (November 9)

At The Weekly Sift, Doug Muder addressed the recent uptick in death rates for middle-aged, white Americans: “It’s still not objectively harder to be white in American than non-white, but the traditional privileges of whiteness have shrunk, particularly for the working class, while visions of how life is supposed to be (for white people) are pegged to the achievements of our parents.” (November 9)

What quantity of blood?

In a Facebook response to the Umpqua Community College shootings in Roseburg, Oregon, Jordinn Nelson Long wondered “what quantity of blood will stain the carpets, mar the tiles and flow into the halls of our public spaces . . . before we are willing to shrug off the cloak of helplessness, turn our ear away from the whispers of hopelessness, and say, in voices so loud that there is nowhere to move but forward, ‘Not my child. Not your child. Not one more. Not. One. More.’” (October 1)

Canadian seminarian Liz James of Rebel with a Labelmaker feels like a “neighbor to a hostage situation” each time there’s a mass shooting in the United States: “Next time, when I see you join in a collective sob for the latest river of blood and bullets, I want you to know that I stand beside you silently.” (October 30)

Don’t be a jerk

The Rev. James Ford of Monkey Mind shared a brief prescription for having a mature spiritual life: “You have a brain. And it is no different than your heart. . . . Learn to use it wisely. One good way is to regularly sit down, shut up, and pay attention. Oh, and be decent today. If you can’t do anything more, just don’t be a jerk. If you can, do something positive for someone or some part of the planet. It helps with that perspective thing.” (October 31)

The Rev. Dan Harper of Yet Another Unitarian Universalist offered four rules for insulating prayer from the Prosperity Gospel: “Unitarian Univer­salists generally agree with Jesus when he says in the Bible, ‘When you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray on the street corners to be seen by others’ (Matt. 6:5). In other words, it’s fine if you pray but don’t be a show-off. In fact, don’t be a show-off with any spiritual practice.” (November 4)

In the aftermath of the Paris terrorist attacks, the Rev. Lynn Ungar suggested at Quest for Meaning that we all re-examine our overly certain beliefs: “There is no easy answer, no solution that will make us all safe in the face of evil. But there are ways, large and small, that each of us can interrogate our own beliefs and actions, and the beliefs and actions of those who act on our behalf, to try to root out the evil that we have unwittingly embraced. We can be less right and more kind. We can stand on the side of love.” (November 15)

Alison Leigh Lily wrote at Nature’s Path about her experiences as a new UU. “I came to UU out of curiosity; but I’ve stayed because this community has proven big enough to embrace those tensions that energize and inspire my spiritual journey. I find myself challenged to think and rethink, to grow, to become a better person; but just as often I’m the one challenging others, and always they respond to that challenge as though it were something to be treasured rather than something to be avoided. I stay, because this community is one within which I can continue to cross boundaries, without having to leave my community behind.” (November 13)

What if broken is the baseline?

Claire Curole of Sand Hill Diary wrote about comparing ourselves to perfection, and falling short: “ What if ‘broken’ is the baseline? What if it isn’t perfect because it could not ever have been, because there was—and is and can be—no such thing?” (October 26)

Writing at HuffPost Parents, Christine Organ confessed feelings of parental inadequacy: “Do you ever feel like you’re all alone on the Island of I-Don’t-Know-What-the-Heck-I’m-Doing? Do you ever feel like you’re a half-step behind, like everyone else is in on some big secret about How to Do and Have It All, like they forgot to give you the big Parenting Handbook before you left the hospital? . . . Yeah, me too.” (October 23)