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Because of the Thanksgiving holiday, this is a short week for UU World. We thought about skipping this week’s column, but the outpouring of blogging about the Ferguson grand jury announcement needed a place to be shared. We’ll be back with a regular post on Friday, December 5.
Here’s most of it—so far.
The Rev. Colin Bossen tells us, “We need to talk about lynching.” (Colin Bossen, November 25)
Diana McLean is trying to be an ally—by listening. (Poetic Justice, November 25)
Kenny Wiley is dreaming of heroes. (A Full Day, November 24)
Though angry, the Rev. Meredith Garmon tries to apply reason to the situation. (The Liberal Pulpit, November 25)
Adrian Graham asks, “Do Black lives really matter in America?” (UUXMNR, November 25)
The Rev. Justin Schroeder wonders, “What comes next? . . . It is a question about which way the arc of the universe will bend. It is about whether we will deepen the racial nightmare we’ve been living in for the past 400 years or find a way to create a world in which all might flourish.” (The Well, November 25)
Karen Johnston suggests, “Let’s not just make noise—let’s make a difference.” (irrevspeckay, November 25)
In this Thanksgiving week, Adam Dyer writes, “Let’s start preparing dinner…a meal where we are all welcome and fed.” (spirituwellness, November 24)
The Rev. Dr. Cynthia Landrum writes that, if Darren Wilson didn’t break the law, then we need new laws. (Rev. Cyn, November 24)
Landrum also deconstructs “Black Lives Matter” and “All Lives Matter.” (The Lively Tradition, November 25)
The Rev. Dan Schatz joins Michael Brown’s father in praying that his son’s death not be in vain. (The Song and the Sigh, November 25)
Tina Porter writes a post for her white friends and family. (Ugly Pies and Crooked Hats, November 25)
The Rev. Krista Taves, who serves a congregation near Ferguson, shares her reflections. (And the stones shall shall cry, November 25)
The Rev. Elizabeth Stevens revisits the truth of the statement, “No justice, no peace.” (revehstevens, November 25)
UUs celebrate expanded marriage equality
Officiating a same-sex wedding in Shawnee County, Kans., the Rev. Sarah Oglesby-Dunegan of the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Topeka, felt it was a moment to celebrate and an opportunity to put pressure on other counties to issues licenses as well. (wibw.com - 11.17.14)
Unitarian Universalists in Spartanburg, S.C., held signs reading “Let us celebrate equal marriage with you!” as same-sex couples applied for marriage licenses outside the Spartanburg County Probate Court. (goupstate.com - 11.20.14)
The Rev. Nina Grey, minister of the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Bozeman, Mont., viewed officiating the first same-sex wedding in the state at the Gallatin County Law and Justice Center as am important moment in our nation’s history. (Belgrade News - 11.21.14)
Controversy continues over Starr King investigation
An article in the New York Times examined the ongoing controversy surrounding withheld diplomas and an investigation into leaked documents at Starr King School for the Ministry in Berkeley, Calif. (New York Times – 11.21.14)
Plaintiff in landmark marriage-equality case remembers how it began
Unitarian Universalist Hillary Goodridge reflects on her experience as lead plaintiff in the landmark case legalizing same-sex marriage in Massachusetts, and on changing the nation’s view of marriage as a civil right open to all. (International Business Times - 11.18.14)
Other marriage equality stories:
Topeka same-sex couple married in ceremony (The Topeka Capital-Journal - 11.17.14)
First same-sex couple files for marriage license in Beaufort County (Savannah Morning News - 11.20.14)
Unitarian Universalist churches prepping for same-sex weddings (wyff4.com - 11.21.14)
Welcoming religious community helps college student discover himself
College junior Benjamin Spick describes how finding a supportive religious community in the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Ames, Iowa, helped him discover himself and engage in his campus and local community authentically. (Iowa State Daily - 11.17.14)
Chaplain services are part of new health care model in Tennessee
A Nashville-area healthcare company offers the services of a chaplain as part of its new model of accountable healthcare. The Rev. Cathy Chang, a Unitarian Universalist minister, helps patients work through important medical decisions based on individual beliefs. (The Tennessean - 11.18.14)
UU institutional investors seek justice in Bhopal gas tragedy
The Unitarian Universalist Common Endowment Fund is part of a group of institutional investors that are renewing their pressure on Dow Chemical to take responsibility for the tragic gas leak that killed thousands in Bhopal City, India, in 1984. (International Business Times - 11.19.14)
We will take next week off from posting UUs in the Media to take time to enjoy the Thanksgiving holiday. We hope you have a safe and restful holiday as well.
Barb Greve recognizes the importance of a transgender day of remembrance, but wishes for more.
It’s an important act: to memorialize the dead, particularly those killed for being who they are. It’s an act that allows for the public processing of pain, a necessary requirement to social change . . . . [But] I yearn for a time when instead of memorializing transgender and genderqueer individuals who have been killed for living their/our lives authentically, we will take time to celebrate the gifts these individuals offer our communities. (Barb’s Bantering, November 20)
The Rev. Nori Rost asks, “What can we do, besides light candles once a year to create a safer world for our Transgender kin?”
For one thing, we can tell the truth. We can tell the truth to our children who ask us about bodies and genders. We can say there is a wonderful diversity of combinations of bodies and souls and sometimes they match what culture wants to see and sometimes they don’t, but we’re all uniquely wonderful and cherished; we are all of inherent worth and dignity, as we Unitarian Universalists like to say. (sUbteXt, November 20)
Diane Daniel and her spouse Lina have relocated to the Netherlands, and she finds herself struggling with explaining their past to new friends.
I’ve told them I have a Dutch wife, so they’ve categorized me as a lesbian. Most of them haven’t met Lina yet. What happens when they do? Will they figure it out? Even if they don’t, do I share our past? I’m still working through these feelings of caring what people think and of balancing our privacy against wanting to be open and intimate with others, which is my usual way of forming friendships.
I realize my tension surrounding who to tell what and when will be a lifelong challenge, but the more I examine it, the more tolerant I become of other people’s differences and fears – and of my own. All of us are souls, worthy of embracing. (She Was the Man of My Dreams, November 20)UUA politics
The Rev. Tom Schade tells us what he wants in a UUA president.
What I want from the UUA President is leadership: a skilled effort at persuading by deed and word what is important and what is necessary to do now. I want to see the UU President preach universal salvation in today’s context. Our nation needs visionary leaders and progressive religion is one of the few places where that leadership can grow. (The Lively Tradition, November 17)
The Rev. Dawn Cooley proposes a system of direct democracy in the UUA as a response to some conflicting assumptions.
Assumption #1: That we want to bring more diverse voices to the table of governance at General Assembly.
Assumption #2: What we have been doing is not working.
Assumption #3: Continuing to do the same thing and expecting different results is the definition of insanity. (Speaking of, November 20)Congregational matters
The Rev. Dr. Cynthia Landrum concludes her series about UU sermon writing with the radical proposal that perhaps ministers don’t always have to preach their own words.
[The] truth is . . . Sunday morning worship is still the heart of what we church ministers do. It’s appropriate that we throw much of our lives into that work, and while it’s always good to find ways to make that easier, another option is to take that work that we’ve poured our lives into and use it more. . . .
What if instead of always crafting our own sermons we sometimes shared, openly, what we felt was the best writing out there on the subject at hand—even if it was not our own? (Rev. Cyn, November 17)
“A Curious UU” wonders how congregations can be all things to all people.
So, someone said recently that when most African-Americans walk into a UU church service, they immediately feel out of place because most UUs don’t have the same tradition in dressing well for church. . . .
I’m thinking that there are many UUs and perhaps even more youth, who, if they walked into a church service of well-dressed people, would immediately feel out of place. (A Curious UU, November 16)Finding our way
Catherine Clarenbach writes that momentum can wreak havoc with clear-headed decision-making.
[You] need to lay down the fun of momentum and the delight of enthusiasm.
You’ll get them when you need them, I promise. But at the beginning of figuring out a decision is not the time for them. In general, they obscure wisdom and make it difficult to perceive clearly what our next steps might be. (The Way of the River, November 18)
Colleen Thoelle is outraged by her son’s teachers, who seem unreasonably concerned about his imaginative play.
He seems to have a knack for tilting people slightly off balance and leaving them wondering what winds just blew through. I think, if they are willing, they just might learn a thing or two from him this year. And maybe just maybe, he will open their minds to what is real. Just like he did mine. (The Family Pants, November 18)
For Liz James, Robin Williams’s death prompted soul-searching about her own need for an audience.
I would be that comedian
there are days when I want so badly to be
days when I feel addicted to that
and I can imagine a world where it
could easily become the only moment when I could
exhale (Rebel With A Label Maker, November 19)
Andrew Hidas puts Brittany Maynard’s choice to end her life in the context of other cries for freedom.
Truly, Maynard’s quest to be make an autonomous decision, in a completely rational state of mind, regarding how much suffering she was willing to endure (and put her family through in watching her) strikes at the very core of the freedom and self-determination that we so revere in the free world. (traversing, November 15)