Keeping our focus and courage

Keeping our focus and courage

Blog roundup: Selections from the Unitarian Universalist conversation online, January through March 2017.


This roundup of online content covers the first quarter of 2017—early January through early March. Unitarian Universalists were grappling with saying goodbye to President Obama and with the emerging realities of a Trump administration. As the magazine went to press, online conversation was beginning to address the UUA’s hiring practices and the resignation of UUA President Peter Morales.

The Rev. Jordinn Nelson Long noted on Facebook that we “have an astonishingly hard time as adults calling out the playground bullies among us. . . . Friends, the cure for bullying is the same as it’s always been. Pushback, from the side of love. Upstanding rather than bystanding.” (January 11)

Also writing on Facebook, the Rev. Sarah Gibb Millspaugh offered a prayer as Obama’s presidency ended and Trump’s began: “I pray that the people will keep our focus and courage, that we will raise enough hell that our voices will be heard, and ultimately, that something—our votes, our courts, our hell-raising, our Constitution—will protect the most vulnerable from this demagogue and his plutocrats. May their reign be weak and short-lived.” (January 19)

Posting at Quest for Meaning, the Rev. Jim Foti outlined America’s theological crisis: “We people of conscience are being called to major acts of resistance and justice, at a time when love and reason have all but vanished from our public theology. We must do all we can to bring them back.” (January 16)

The Rev. Robin Bartlett shared on Facebook a question her daughter asked on inauguration morning: “This morning my 6-year-old sat down at the table and said, ‘is it true that the president tickles girl’s private parts without asking?’ These are the kinds of questions we will be answering for the next few years, with a sigh and steely resolve. I will try to answer them without euphemism and without flinching.” (January 20)

Writing at Free and Responsible Search, Doug Muder shared a recent sermon about hope and humanism: “[H]ealthy hope requires exercise. On a regular basis, we need to visualize worthwhile things, try them, and see them come to pass. Not just because the world needs good things to happen, but because we, for ourselves, need to make good things happen and see ourselves making good things happen.” (February 3)

In a public Facebook post, the Rev. Cecilia Kingman challenged us to get to work on what can be done: “Today, figure out who you can work with locally. Invite some friends over and talk about making your city a sanctuary city. If you are in a sanctuary city, reach out to elected officials and ask how your city will mitigate the effects of the federal budget cuts that will occur. Ask how you can help. And people, attend to your personal preparedness.” (February 7)

The Rev. Jake Morrill pointed out on Facebook that many of the new administration’s actions have been un-Christian: “If Trump and Sessions want to target the least of these, again and again, for their perverse cruelty, that’s consistent with how they have lived. But nobody gets to call what they’re doing anything even close to Christian.” (February 22)

The Rev. James Ford of Monkey Mind noted that most of the world’s religions have some version of the Golden Rule: “We have just elected a president who draws the smallest possible circle of who gets to be a neighbor, whose actions seem vastly more in concert with Ayn Rand than with Jesus, Buddha, or, for that matter, Darwin. Now, in Jewish history in such harsh times when the rich put their boot on the neck of the poor, prophets arise and rail against the imbalance. I consider these things, and I wonder if that prophet isn’t getting ready to stand in front of the White House?” (March 11)

Looking within

Posting on Medium, Beth Leyba wrote that Unitarian Universalism is hella white: “Let me be clear: I still believe that I have found my people. Let me also be clear: I wasn’t fully aware of what I was getting into. As a mestiza (mixed) woman I am in the minority both on staff (cough, cough — the only one) and in the congregation (not the only one — but one of few).” (March 29)

The “Unitarian Universalist Missional Cohort” responded to the arrest of the Rev. Ron Robinson for accessing child pornography: “We are grieving. We are questioning ourselves. Did we exalt one of our own so much that he couldn’t bring a prayer of confession to any of us? We gathered together online for a conference call, (the technology that facilitated his crimes, also brought us together in pain and fellowship) the night the story broke. We expressed our disillusionment, our grief, our anger. We wept.” (March 2)

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