Highlights from Unitarian Universalist blogs, September through December 2017.
Liz James, discussing the #MeToo Movement, provided a striking metaphor, answering the question of why women being harassed don’t simply leave the room: “The path to the door is clear, and it’s unlocked. But there’s one, tiny catch. The door handle is smeared with honey. And on that honey, there are seven or eight bees. . . . How bad would the thing in the room have to be for you to grab that handle?” (Liz James Writes, December 5)
Debra Greenwood pointed out that women of color are particularly vulnerable to sexual abuse: “Desperate to keep their jobs, there has been little or no recourse, save resignation, for these women. In order to eat, they’ve had to endure the abuse. The fact that these women were victimized made no real impact on society. It wasn’t until white women were more widely abused that women were believed and action taken.” (UU Women, December 8)
The Rev. Vanessa Southern called for strong women to rise up: “I am feeling a need to resurrect [the Amazons] from the pages of books. Something about female flesh being fierce, intimidating, and dangerous feels appropriate and necessary and appealing right now. And necessary to balance the power that has hurt so many with so few repercussions . . . until now. Maybe now.” (Facebook, November 30)
The Rev. Adam Dyer connected male embodiment and violence: “Gender statistics on mass shootings are a clear indication that gun violence in the United States is a male problem . . . just like rape. If we are to find an antidote to all toxic masculinity, we need to begin by de-weaponizing male embodiment. . . . We will never fix the fatal flaw of the Second Amendment until we disband the not-so-well-regulated militia in men’s pants.” (Spirituwellness, November 2)
The Rev. Chris Buice, whose congregation experienced gun violence in 2008, spoke at an interfaith vigil outside the NRA’s headquarters (see page 52): “You may wonder why the clergy would speak out on this issue. The reason is simple. We are the ones who do the memorial services. We comfort the grieving family. We minister to the traumatized communities. We are the chaplains at the bottom of the hill and that’s why we know we need guardrails at the top.” (The Tao of Tennessee, December 16)
The Rev. Jason Shelton encountered his senator on a recent flight: “We . . . talked about growing up in Tennessee, and having guns and hunters in our families, and not recognizing these weapons of mass death as having anything to do with hunting or self-defense. We talked about elementary school children having lockdown drills, and ministers who show up for the memorial services when our politicians fail us . . . and how I pray it will never be my child, or his grandchild, that makes the news in this way. I don’t know if it changed anything, but I believe he listened to me. And I came away with a renewed sense of purpose.” (Facebook, December 15)
The Rev. Audette Fulbright prayed for strength to bless the world: “Let us praise with hands and hearts and song all that is righteous and good in this world. Every day, the troubles of a wounded world pour in and we need strong hearts to make the journey.” (Facebook, December 10)
The Rev. Dr. Cynthia Landrum wrote that “[Hope is] a thing with claws, grasping on tightly for what it wants. It is a thing with a beak, pulling and pecking and fighting for what it knows is possible. Hope is a thing with muscle and sinew, pushing against the forces of empire. Hope is a thing with bone, solid force against the despair. Hope is a thing that bites and claws and scratches on us, not simply sitting on our shoulder bringing light and song, but pushing us, pulling us, making us fight for the world that should be.” (Facebook, December 5)
The Rev. Peggy Clarke responded to the anger and hopelessness felt by many on the left: “[We] can’t hide our heads in the sand (or shopping or ice cream). . . . Now is not the time for us to pull back. Now is the time for us to pull together, to lean on each other, to empower both friend and stranger.” (Facebook, December 4)
The Rev. Cecilia Kingman acknowledged that these are difficult times for those of us who wrestle with despair and anxiety: “You are needed in this struggle even if you can’t get out of bed some days. You are needed even if you are utterly brokenhearted. In fact, it is from these places that the voice of truth arises. . . . Stay here. Stay with us.” (Facebook, December 20)
Tina Porter offered advice for dealing with the world’s jagged edges: “Find your center. Find the beauty. Find the quiet place where you feel enveloped maybe not by the love you receive but by all that you give. . . . And then pick up the heartbreak once more and get back to the job of making the world a little softer, especially for those for whom the world is always searing and craggy.” (Ugly Pies, October 26)
Many UUs participate in lively discussion of a wide variety of topics online. Keep up with the conversation: Read UU World’s Editors’ Blog, where you’ll find links to each week’s best commentary.
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The Rev. Heather Christensen wrote The Interdependent Web, UU World's weekly guide to Unitarian Universalist blogs, from 2011 until 2020. She lives with her two young children in Bellingham, Washington.