Blog roundup, Summer 2015

Blog roundup, Summer 2015

Highlights from the Unitarian Universalist blogosphere, January to April 2015.


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

Being better partners

Leslie Mills of Leaping Loon reported on the UU observance of the Selma anniversary: “It’s not enough to reason your way to action, or to argue your way, and you can’t even believe your way to action. You can only act for justice from a place of love. And your actions will have more power if you are able to articulate that, because it connects your humanity to that of the people with whom you are striving for justice.” (3.7.15)

The Rev. Scott Wells of Boy in the Bands had mixed feelings about UU participation in the fiftieth anniversary observances in Selma—and a bit of advice: “[To] escape the peril of exoticism, live where you work and work where you live. Be not tourists, but companions. Be present in the place. Show up daily, not every fifty years.” (3.9.15)

The Rev. Amy Zucker Morgenstern of Sermons in Stones wrote, “When I think of what I would risk dying for, I think of freedom and fairness, of the earth, but mostly of people: people I know. . . . When we know someone who is suffering under oppression, abstractions such as freedom and justice take on flesh. They acquire a face, and the face silently asks us to act. (3.9.15)

Kim Hampton of East of Midnight expressed her skepticism about UU promises to black people: “Our history shows that our partnerships, when it comes to race, are infrequent and easily dropped. . . . If we are going to be partners, what’s the plan? Talk is cheap and easy; just saying we’re partners doesn’t mean that we are.” (3.11.15)

Kenny Wiley of A Full Day (and a UU World senior editor) built a UU Black Lives Matter theology to support his work as an activist: “Right now we are being called—by our ancestors, by our principles, by young black activists across the country—to promote and affirm: You are young and black, and your life matters just the same. You stole something, and your life matters just the same. I have been taught to fear you, and your life matters just the same. The police are releasing your criminal record, and your life matters just the same. They are calling you a thug, and your life matters just the same. (3.26.15)

In the congregations

The Rev. Christian Schmidt of A Free Faith rejected gloom and doom about the future of religious communities: “We need these communities, with their buildings that are falling apart, with their financial structures so often inefficient, with ministers who have been trained in all the wrong things, who are aching to devote their entire lives to these communities.” (2.12.15)

The Rev. Dr. Cynthia Landrum, writing at The Lively Tradition, was optimistic about changes in ministry and congregational life: “What if new models can emerge that make us more connected, more interdependent, where we’re using our own strengths and the strengths of others, and the result is a Unitarian Universalism less mediocre, less amateurish, and more prophetic?” (1.10.15)

The Rev. Tom Schade, also writing at The Lively Tradition, proposed several alternatives to “community building” as strategies for growth, including these: “The purpose of our congregation is to [be] your point of deep connection to the global movement for justice;” “our purpose is to challenge all theologies and interpretations that oppress and bind the spirit, especially the dominant religions in our community;” and “we are a church that invites you to make the profound spiritual commitment to the health of the Earth and her people.” (3.26.15, 3.29.15, 3.30.15)

The Rev. Dan Harper of Yet Another Unitarian Universalist noted the decline in congregational singing, and the purpose it could serve: “Congregational singing can aim towards joy, towards ecstatic union with the universe through song. Congregational singing can be—should be—cynical kids belting out a favorite hymn at the tops of their voices, completely lost in the moment.” (1.28.15)


Writing at the Church of the Larger Fellowship’s Quest for Meaning blog, the Rev. Meg Riley explained her choice to stay connected with difficult Facebook friends: “Like it or not, Facebook is now a significant [displacer] of the corner diner, the water cooler, the bridge club, the hair salon, the barber shop, the potluck supper. . . . a resource too precious to waste by cutting engaged people out of the conversation, regardless of the perspectives they bring.” (2.9.15)

Theresa Ines Soto of Theresa Loves You responded to ableist language: “When we use metaphors of the bodies of others to say that the conditions they have signify inferiority and weakness, we have both transgressed the boundary of the body of another and have also used our words to devalue their physical home and lived experience.” (2.4.15)