UU News

General Assembly, open windows, porch cats, and more

News from Far Off UU Congregations - Fri, 2014-06-27 16:26
Attending General Assembly

Lena Gardner, a first-time General Assembly attendee, can hardly stop weeping during a worship service.

I wept for my ancestors who didn’t make it, and for the ones who persevered, who escaped, who endured, for the ones whose land was stolen away and who watched—and fought—as genocide and torture was called nation building and progress. . . .

Meg Riley and the rest of the worship committee put together an incredible service that intricately, delicately, and powerfully weaved together the complexity of African American identity, the historical legacy of this place we have gathered with its historical legacy of slave trade and racial justice and UU theology. Somehow grounded in the love of UU theology they delivered a message of hope, endurance, perseverance, and wisdom without sugar coating the past. (Spirit, Self, and Journeying, June 26)

Katy Schmidt Karpman speaks for those of us at home, who would like cheese with our whine! (Remembering Attention, June 23)

Open windows

At its best, blogging opens windows into human experience. In this unflinching post, the Rev. Alane Cameron Miles shows us her life with a neurological disorder that is stealing her ability to remember.

I have become Lucy from “50 First Dates” or the scary tattoo-covered dude from “Memento”, two of the most famous memory loss movie characters. I prefer to think I am Lucy. She at least can remember for a whole day. I can’t, but it is something to strive for. I’m realizing that Lucy isn’t played with nearly enough rage. The lack of memory isn’t as upsetting as the times when I have an inkling of everything I am forgetting. (Auspicious Jots, June 22)

Known issues

Suzynn Smith Webb compares personal flaws to “known issues”—things known to be broken in a complicated web application, which the developers can’t yet fix.

Treating my flaws as known issues makes the process of self improvement a lot easier. If you know you make everything about you, it makes it a lot easier to catch yourself doing that. You’re looking for the pattern. . . .

[We’re] flawed but functional, and improvement takes ingenuity and work, but is always within reach. . . . We’re all OK, and we’re all loved. Now where will you go from there? (Loved for Who You Are, June 20)

Andrew Hidas asks how we, as privileged Americans, should respond to global inequality.

Should it shame us that so many of our brothers and sisters have it bad? Spur us to give away all that we have, as the Book of Mark urges us, to help the poor? Or live somewhere in between those poles of shame and ultimate charity, in an uneasy truce between the debilitation of shame, the glow of charity, and the satisfaction of creature comforts that are now deeply ingrained in our culture and personal history?

Can we settle into that truce with a sense of integrity, knowing the world is tilted on a strange axis indeed, accepting it as we can, making an honest (if less than total) effort at redress, while knowing that no matter what we do, life, as our parents reminded us so directly, just isn’t fair and never will be? (Traversing, June 26)

Claire points to systemic problems behind an internet hoax.

At the end of the day, there is still a little child with a disfiguring injury that would benefit from continuing care, and she lives—as do we all—in a system whose structure makes that care seem more attainable through deceit and manipulation than through honest vulnerability.

What does that say about the system? What does that say about us? (Sand Hill Diary, June 24)

The Rev. James Ford hopes humanism will focus its energy on engaging the world’s problems.

I hope as we go forward into the Twenty-first century a new humanism will emerge, one that isn’t particularly concerned with disproving a deity, but that is wildly, gloriously, engaged, bringing those most wonderful tools of reason and the scientific method into the great project of life. (Monkey Mind, June 21)

The Rev. Meredith Garmon reminds us that “We must be in touch with the world’s pain, hold it ever in awareness, never grow callous or oblivious.” (The Liberal Pulpit, June 21)

How to be alive

Like many parents before her, Christine Leigh Slocum discovers that parenting is teaching her important life lessons.

I am approaching the tasks of parenthood with the orientation that my job is to show her how to be alive. . . .

In order to show my daughter how to love life, I need to be loving life. If I want to teach her to appreciate the nature, or know how to be loving to others, I need to appreciate nature, and be loving to others. (Many Words, June 26)

The Rev. Dr. Victoria Weinstein remembers a childhood vacation with her workaholic father, and passes along advice to parents.

On behalf of the child I was who remembers how good and right and whole the world felt when I received my parents’ full, sober attention, please consider not answering that phone. Please consider a vacation with your children with no distractions, when you can have lazy days for conversations that unfold in no hurry, when a daughter can pretend to read a book while sitting by the pool, when she is actually not reading at all but only savoring the sound of her father turning pages in the deck chair next to her.

These are the only days we get. Don’t miss one. (PeaceBang, June 26)

Bringing in porch cats

After a winter of encouraging a “porch cat” to consider indoor life, the Rev. Elizabeth Curtiss sees connections between him and the religiously unaffiliated.

If a majority of potentially religious folk now consider themselves “free range,” then bringing them into covenant with us—making available to them the refuge of our faith messages in hard times—is going to be slow and tedious. It will require sustained membership mentors who themselves require ministerial and personal support. Encouragement. Tactical advice. Money for supplies. And lots of food. (Politywonk, June 20)

The Rev. Heather Rion Starr wishes we were asking bigger questions than, “How do we bring young adults back?”

We all seem to get so focused on our particular setting or context or denomination and how to keep it alive, make it thrive. Too easily it seems we lose sight of the larger purpose that got us wanting to be a part of a community in the first place–to be there for one another, to be challenged and held and transformed ourselves and to be a part of that transformative experience for others. (Quest for Meaning, June 22)

The Rev. Joanna Fontaine Crawford challenges us to identify our congregation’s implicit mission—and if it’s not what we mean to be doing, kill it. (Boots and Blessings, June 21)

Categories: UU News

UUA President Troubled Over SCOTUS Decision

UUA Top Stories - Thu, 2014-06-26 01:00
UUA President Peter Morales issued a statement following the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision on buffer zones. It begins, “Today, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the use of protest buffer zones around Massachusetts abortion clinics in McCullen v. Coakley. This is a major defeat in the fight for reproductive rights and may put clinic workers and individuals seeking pregnancy-related care at great risk.'
Categories: UU News

$1.3 million deficit surprises UUA administration, board

UU World - Wed, 2014-06-25 01:00
NEWS: Shortfall in major gifts brought to leaders' attention as fiscal year ends.
Categories: UU News

Follow UUA General Assembly with 'UU World'

UU World - Mon, 2014-06-23 01:00
NEWS: Keep up with the latest news from the UUA’s annual meeting, in Providence.
Categories: UU News

Opportunities are always there

UU World - Mon, 2014-06-23 01:00
LIFE: Thriving congregations have leaders who seize the opportunities before them rather than cling to plans that are no longer viable.
Categories: UU News

Love is the boss, witchcraft and wizardry, public theology, and more

News from Far Off UU Congregations - Fri, 2014-06-20 16:09
Love is the boss

A flip comment—”My calendar is the boss of me”—makes the Rev. Deanna Vandiver re-evaluate her core commitments.

I serve in the name of love. Love for the world that is and the world that can be. Love for the wonder of creation and respect of destruction. Love for a faith community that meets us where we are and doesn’t leave us there. Love for you. Love for me.

It is easy in the days of overloaded calendars and underloaded bank accounts to forget. And it absolutely matters that we remember. (Quest for Meaning, June 17)

Amid all the anxiety and posturing that goes on in a hospital, Jordinn Nelson Long looks for the places where love lives.

What if we made it our number one job each day to remember that we aren’t a role or a title or a degree, not really? And that the one across from us, with the hair the color of your sister’s, or freckles, or dimples, or a gold tooth, and a look of fear or dread or hope or resignation—that person isn’t a patient or a stroke victim or a financial concern, not really?

What if we truly remembered this, with each phone call or e-mail or data input task:

I am a human being, here to serve other human beings–in love–and this entire institution exists, whether it knows it or not, to fulfill that mission.

Here. Now. In this very moment. (Raising Faith, June 14)

The nightmare of children crowded into a warehouse in Nogales breaks the Rev. Diane Dowgiert’s heart.

Frightened children.

Lonely children.

Crying children.

This is not a dream.

A living nightmare.

When will we awaken?

Decide to create a new reality?

Realize that we are all interconnected?

Know that what we do unto the least of these we do unto ourselves? (Transforming Times, June 18)

The Rev. Erik Martinez Resley shares “Love Reaches Out,” from the Sanctuaries in DC.

Public theology

The Rev. Tom Schade explains what he means by “public theology.”

Public theology is the explanation of human society, social institutions and governments. If you a theist, it explains the existence of governments, nations and social institutions in God’s plan. Even if you are not a theist, it explains the fundamental moral foundations of social life. (The Lively Tradition, June 17)

Schade also shares four core statements of liberal public theology.

The world is unfair, but it gets better.

The opposite of love is not hate but indifference.

You can’t hate somebody after you hear their story.

Everything causes everything. (The Lively Tradition, June 19)

Truth and meaning

Liz James wonders how to learn to do ministry beyond “the shadow of the cross.”

I am not in a Christian seminary, but we learn in the shadow of the cross. Our understanding of what a Minister is comes from Priests and Pastors, not from Gurus, Shamans, or Traditional Faith Healers. We may be like Priests, or we may be different from them, but the exploration is shaped by that story. (Free Range Seminarian, May 28)

The Rev. Dr. David Breeden warns us about the fantasy of finding “Truth.” (Theopoetics, June 19)

Maps, graphs, and other toys

The Rev. Dan Harper looks at geographic data about Unitarian Universalism, and shares his conclusions—that in most places in the US, UUism barely makes a dent, and that in a few places, UUs are common enough to feel like a mainstream religion. (Yet Another Unitarian Universalist, June 14)

The Rev. Scott Wells creates a bar graph to show density of UUs by region—and is surprised by the results.

I knew that New England was the “homeland” and you are more likely to find a small-town churches there; I was still shocked to see the disparity between New England states and everywhere else. I had thought earlier Universalist missions, the Fellowship movement and subsequent population drifts had smoothed out the distribution. (Boy in the Bands, June 17)

Wells is also surprised by an article that defined “micro-church” as a “gathering of 30 or so folks.”

Gott im Himmel. If an attendance of thirty makes a micro-church, what does that make Unitarian Universalists? A fellowship with a large proportion of small congregations, that’s what. (Boy in the Bands, June 16)

Witchcraft and wizardry

Patrick Murfin provides an overview of Starhawk’s life and work, including her contributions to Unitarian Universalism.

Starhawk was an early and influentially active member of the Covenant of Unitarian Universalist Pagans (CUUPS).  Her combinations contributed heavily to the adoption of the Unitarian Universalist Association’s Seventh Principle, “Respect for the Interdependent Web of All Existence of Which We Are a Part” in 1983, a move led by the faith’s growing eco-feminist movement. That inclusion has in many ways profoundly changed traditional Unitarian Universalism broadening its roots form radical Christianity and modern Humanism, influencing the way the faith act in the world, and being a major catalyst for a revival of spirituality in the liberal faith. (Heretic, Rebel, a Thing to Flout, June 17)

The Rev. Dan Harper asks three interesting questions about the Harry Potter novels. Be sure to read the comments, and share your own answers if you’d like.

Which characters did you picture as gay, lesbian, bisexual, or questioning, and why?

If Harry had to marry one of the minor characters, which one would he marry, and why?

If you could be any character or creature in the Harry Potter universe, which one would you be? (Yet Another Unitarian Universalist, June 13)

Categories: UU News

Service Committee leader urges transparency for Haiti aid, and other UUs in the media

UU in the news - Fri, 2014-06-20 14:27

UUSC’s Schulz says Haitians continue to face challenges

President and CEO of the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee, the Rev. Dr. William F. Schulz, has joined with 22 other organizations to strongly urge passage of the Assessing Progress in Haiti Act, requiring the State Department to show how U.S. aid to Haiti is being spent. (Huffington Post – 6.13.14)

UU ministers speak out on global justice issues

Given the urgency of global climate change and the need for religious people to care for this world and its people, the Rev. Ann Schranz of Monte Vista Unitarian Universalist Congregation in Montclair, Calif., hopes that our shared religious values will help us collaborate on these sorts of important issues. (Daily Bulletin – 6.13.14)

The Rev. Mark Kiyimba of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Kampala, Uganda, is traveling around the United States to share the story of crisis in his country around the oppression of gay people. Because American evangelicals are partly responsible for creating this crisis, Kiyimba hopes to convince Americans that they have a role to play in finding a solution. (Bennington Banner – 6.14.14)

News from the congregations

Cedar Lane Unitarian Universalist Church in Bethesda, Md., will hold an interfaith event to honor the memory of three murdered civil rights workers fifty years ago in Mississippi. They hope to use this occasion as a call to action for attendees to urge Congress to move forward on the Voting Rights Amendment Act of 2014. (Gazette.net – 6.20.14)

The Rev. Arthur Vaeni, known for his role in helping his congregation, Olympia UU Congregation in Washington, create the innovative Quixote Village homeless community, led one of his final services on Sunday. (The Bellingham Herald – 6.15.14)

Members of Unitarian Universalist Meeting of South Berkshire in Housatonic, Mass., celebrated worship service in their new home in the former Housatonic Congregational Church. A capital campaign raised enough funds to help purchase the building and have additional funds set aside for repairs and upgrades as needed. (The Berkshire Eagle – 6.17.14)

Looking back at the 60-year history of the Unitarian Church of Edmonton in Alberta, Canada, the congregation celebrates the creation of a religious community in a region that previously lacked a strong liberal religious identity, and the early support they received from their headquarters in Boston. (Edmonton Journal – 6.13.14)

UUs continue push for marriage equality

Members of the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Asheville, N.C., Carol Taylor and Betty Mack are lead plaintiffs in a lawsuit challenging the state’s ban on same-sex marriage. They argue that the state’s current laws violate their religious freedom because it denies them the right to a religious marriage ceremony. (Asheville Citizen-Times - 6.13.14)

The Rev. Kelly Crocker of First Unitarian Society of Madison, Wisc., performed one of the first legal same-sex marriages in the state when she married Christine Pasinski and Nancy Smiegowski, who have been a couple for 29 years. Crocker hopes weddings for many other same-sex couples will follow. (nbc15.com – 6.10.14)

Categories: UU News

Team plans creative, nourishing arc of worship

UU World - Mon, 2014-06-16 01:00
NEWS: Worship Arts Team, new this year, supports worship leaders at General Assembly.
Categories: UU News

T-shirt evangelism

UU World - Mon, 2014-06-16 01:00
SPIRIT: Wearing my Standing on the Side of Love shirt tells the world, including me, what I stand for.
Categories: UU News

The cause of justice, why go to church, Lego chalices, and more

News from Far Off UU Congregations - Fri, 2014-06-13 16:07
The cause of justice

The Rev. Dr. Cynthia Landrum reviews the first two of the Shadow Children novels for young readers, whose main character, Luke, “doesn’t take up the fight.”

The world relies on the Jens to get out there and make a stand and lead the rally, but the world is full of Lukes, who hang back out of fear, and protect themselves. And that’s okay, especially for children, and especially for those for whom it is most dangerous to speak out. . . .

The cause of justice has a lot of room for a lot of different levels of action. (Rev. Cyn, June 10)

Karen Johnston makes a spontaneous decision to tell her daughter about having been sexually assaulted.

This disclosure to my teenaged daughter was a fierce Mama-Bear moment, sensing how dangerous it is for anyone—for her—to believe that there are some women who plan not to get raped, and somehow, by implication, some who do.

I could not let her go off into the world with such a hazardous delusion—for her own safety, as well as for the safety and sanity of the young women she will meet, befriend, and console. Not only do I not want my daughter to be the target of sexual violence, I don’t want her to perpetuate victim-blaming or take part in slut-shaming. (irrevspeckay, June 6)

The Rev. Lynn Ungar parodies the casual disregard for human life shown by gun rights activists.

You know what isn’t cool? The government getting up in your business. You know what is cool? People carrying guns in public. Did you see that picture of the guy carrying an AK-47 around the pharmacy aisle in Target? That’s a bad ass. Nobody is going to mess with anyone while that guy is around. Little children can feel safe when they see that guy with an assault rifle is in the store. (Quest for Meaning, June 10)

Why does anyone go to church?

Andrew Hidas asks, “Why does anyone go to church?” and shares his reasons for going.

Sunday church has to inform and underlie our Monday through Saturday. The ways we aspire to be in church have to become so woven into the warp and woof of the days and minutes of our lives—living in that spirit of veneration, gratitude, expressiveness and generosity—that the distinction between a church and non-church day, the essence of them, disappears, even as we still draw sustenance from the quality of our Sunday encounter and the relationships that we renew there. (Traversing, June 10)

The Rev. Dr. David Breeden is sometimes asked how humanists can have church without God.

The apparatuses of worship change with time, as do the words and the concepts. It is the human mind and human needs for purpose and meaning that remain that same and come to the temple, the stadium, or the storefront church. These are what remain the same. For humanists, that’s as holy as it gets. (Way of Oneness, June 12)

Peggy Richards writes about her UU congregation as “a haven in our midst.”

I attend when I am joyful, knowing my joy will be shared and that I may bring comfort to someone who feels less joyful that day. I attend when I feel low, knowing I will receive unobtrusive support and will likely hear something that will lighten my load. I volunteer when I can. I decline when I can’t. I feel good about either decision. It has grounded me. It has given me a base from which to do all the idealistic things I always meant to do but did not know where to start. It has supported me when I had nothing to give. It requests much but expects nothing. (I Am UU, June 12)

As part of the new “Loved for Who You Are” project, Tim Atkins writes that it is up to us “to counteract messages of hate with love.” (Loved for Who You Are, May 31)

Go big or go home

Katy Schmidt Carpman points to a number we need to be reminded of, again and again: 164,000, the number of UUs in the United States.

Did you know that the Hawaiian Islands have more Catholics on them (not including tourists!) than we have Unitarian Universalists across the United States?

164,000 people could fit into two of our large NFL stadiums. (Remembering Attention, June 11)

Andrew Mackay asks, “How does Unitarian Universalism ‘go big or go home’ in a world that increasingly mirrors our values?”

One thing I floated, and some congregations may already do this, is the concept of exit interviews. . . . UUism has low social pressure—members don’t try to shame others into attending. That openness should allow us to ask departing members frankly about why the faith wasn’t working for them anymore. Only though data can we understand the problem of retention. If you’re an active UU member and absolutely love it, it’s hard to understand why others don’t. (Unspoken Politics, June 12)

Survey says

The UUA presidential search committee is looking for feedback on a draft job description. (UUA Presidential Search, May 22)

The Rev. Tom Schade is gathering stories of how people became Unitarian Universalists. (The Lively Tradition, June 11)

And a bit of fun

Barb Greve shares his plans for a variety of Lego chalices. (Barb’s Bantering, June 10)

“Bliss Failure” receives a ransom note for her happiness from “The Suffering Resistance Front, Central Virginia Chapter.”

We are giving you plenty of time to come looking—but should we discover you have spent that time surfing the net, gossiping, Facebook stalking, watching porn, buying lottery tickets, or looking in the mirror while making disparaging comments about your appearance—we will take your happiness on a lovely hike complete with picnic and sunset marveling and never bring it back.

There is no monetary ransom because you can’t buy happiness, you dumbass. (Auspicious Jots, June 6)

Categories: UU News

Midwest UUs celebrate marriage equality, and other UUs in the media

UU in the news - Fri, 2014-06-13 14:22

Midwest ministers eager to perform same-sex weddings

The Rev. Suzelle Lynch of the Unitarian Universalist Church West in Brookfield, Wisc., made it her mission to be there for couples waiting to be married when a U.S. District Court judge ruled the state’s ban on same-sex marriage was unconstitutional. Lynch’s congregation has been a vocal supporter of marriage equality for more than a decade. (WISN 12 - 6.10.14)

The Rev. Roger Bertschausen, of Fox Valley Unitarian Universalist Fellowship in Appleton, Wisc., organized a gathering at the courthouse to support those who wished to wed, and he performed the county’s first legal same-sex marriage. “It’s a great day in Winnebago County,” said Bertschausen. (postcrescent.com - 6.12.14)

To celebrate marriage equality in Illinois, Tree of Life Unitarian Universalist Congregation in McHenry hosted a special church service and wedding ceremony for four local lesbian couples. Minister of the congregation, the Rev. Sean Parker Dennison, officiated. (Windy City Times - 6.10.14)

The Rev. Bill Freeman, who became well-known recently for his role in marrying same-sex couples while it was legal in Michigan, announced that he would be leaving Harbor Unitarian Universalist Congregation in Muskegon, Mich., to become senior minister at the United Church of Christ in Menifee, Calif. (mlive.com - 6.11.14)

Other marriage equality stories include:

“Four lesbian couples make history, marry in McHenry” (mysuburbanlife.com - 6.8.14)

“Janesville women record Rock County’s first same-sex marriage Monday” (Gazette Xtra - 6.9.14)

“They preach the same scripture, but churches have very different platforms on same-sex marriage” (fox6now.com - 6.10.14)

UUs active in interfaith justice efforts in their communities

Unitarian Universalists in Williamsburg, Va., are taking part in a public forum to support expanding Medicaid benefits in their state. Members of the Williamsburg Unitarian Universalists believe this is an important part of their effort to be visible in support of justice causes. (The Virginia Gazette - 6.6.14)

The Rev. Emilie Boggis, of the Unitarian Church in Summit, N.J., is currently serving as president of the Summit Interfaith Council, which is considering creating a “Green Circle” to provide support for community-wide environmental programming. (Independent Press - 6.12.14)

The Rev. Barbara Jarrell of All Souls Unitarian Universalist Church in Shreveport, La., added her voice to others in supporting payday loan reform legislation. She is working with Northern and Central Louisiana Interfaith, which advocates for human rights and economic justice issues. (Shreveport Times - 6.6.14)

Categories: UU News

Love Has Everything To Do With It!

UUA Top Stories - Wed, 2014-06-11 01:00
During General Assembly (GA) this month in Providence, RI, Standing on the Side of Love, the UUA's public advocacy campaign to counter oppression with love, will celebrate five successful years of standing up for justice by showing up with compassion. Connect with the campaign at GA or online to help commemorate this important anniversary.
Categories: UU News

Into The Beyond

UUA Top Stories - Wed, 2014-06-11 01:00
Terasa Cooley, UUA program and strategy officer, talks about the urgent need to respond to changes in American demographics regarding religious behavior and what that might mean for changing the way we do church as Unitarian Universalists. Cooley considers the questions we need to ask  to get started and points to some exciting new sources to find answers.  
Categories: UU News

The Surprising Grace of Alzheimer's

UUA Top Stories - Wed, 2014-06-11 01:00
Michael Leach reviews 'Where Two Worlds Touch: A Spiritual Journey Through Alzheimer's Disease' from UUA publisher Skinner House Books. While this was the best book Leach has ever read on the subject, he knows that any reader would benefit from its insights: 'It's one to keep on your nightstand and read for your own spiritual nourishment, just as you would a book on meditation. It's that beneficial,' writes Leach. Order your copy through the UUA Bookstore.
Categories: UU News

Our visit to Chernobyl

UU World - Mon, 2014-06-09 01:00
SPIRIT: Sabbatical travel allowed us to see history with our own eyes.
Categories: UU News

Embracing 'and'

UU World - Mon, 2014-06-09 01:00
LIFE: Religious pluralism was as much a part of our lives as the Southern drawl that flavored our interactions.
Categories: UU News

Heartbreaking conflict, teaching men and boys, marketing UUism, and more

News from Far Off UU Congregations - Fri, 2014-06-06 14:22
This religion will break your heart

Writing about a conflict at Starr King School for the Ministry, the Rev. Tom Schade considers larger issues of trust within Unitarian Universalism.

There is a persistent anti-authoritarianism in UU culture (I hereby dub it “PopUUlism”) that believes that an elite manipulates our process somewhere inside that black box of confidentiality, no matter how transparent the rest of the process is.

While knowing nothing about the particulars of this case, I suspect that the larger issue involved is the conflict between transparency and confidentiality in the poisonous UU atmosphere of distrust. (The Lively Tradition, June 5)

Theresa Novak, a SKSM graduate, believes that three important points have been lost in the discussion.

1. The underlying racism of the reaction to the selection of the Reverend Rosemary Bray McNatt as SKSM’s next president

2. Ignorance of the power dynamics of institutions, including those of small religiously liberal seminaries

3. Hubris and confusion about what the “empowerment” of students actually means. (Sermons, Poetry and Other Musings, June 5)

Acknowledging that Unitarian Universalism often breaks our hearts, the Rev. Dr. Cynthia Landrum advises, “Carry on. Love on.”

If you stay in this faith long enough, your heart will be broken. Somebody you loved and trusted in this faith will do something you think is so hurtful and incomprehensible, so wrong-headed, that it will break your heart. Or something will be decided that you just can’t agree with, and it will break your heart. And then, if you stay long enough, it will happen again and again. (Rev. Cyn, June 5)

The Rev. Scott Wells expresses a similar take on UU “mishigas,” with a sharper edge.

There’s a Yiddish word you should learn if you don’t know it. Mishigas. Crazy-nonsense. Boy, do we have it. Good, self-differentiated people smell it and they stay away or leave. Remember that the next time you hear someone mew about the Millenials being our future. (Boy in the Bands, June 2)

Marketing UUism

A blogger attends First UU of San Antonio, and reviews her experience.

I’m not sure what to think of this service. I expected something a bit more like Unity, Church of Religious Science or Divine Science. I didn’t hear any mention of Jesus Christ and only found the word “God” in a few of the hymns. Most songs were about the clouds, community and beauty, etc. . . . I’d call this church a true “feel good” church. While I didn’t get much from it, I’m glad there are denominations like this that are welcoming to gay, lesbian and transgender people, who often find it difficult to worship openly with their partner in an environment filled with judgment. (Steeple Stretch, June 2)

After two young adults mention valuing Christmas Eve traditions, the Rev. Elizabeth Curtiss asks, “Why do we assume that what attracts young adults is novelty, the unexpected—which it often is—without remembering that in the ever-more-violent fluctuations of their emerging years, they also yearn for anchors?” (Politywonk, June 3)

The Rev. Andy Burnette responds to the Rev. Dr. Terasa Cooley’s recent UU World article, “Into the Beyond.”

Church needs a reboot in many ways. . . . But if we beg every young adult who comes through our doors to tell us how we should be, we are serving neither the Millennials nor Unitarian Universalism well.

Are we inviting Millennials to learn from us as well as to adapt our faith to their tastes? Are we inviting them into transformative community with us, or asking them how to build monuments to Millennial identity? (Just Wondering, June 4)

The Rev. Elizabeth Stevens wishes we’d worry less about “Selling God.”

Here’s the thing. I am an institutionalist, and will likely embrace whatever logo, slogan or ‘branding’ they come up with—mostly because I don’t think it’s going to make that much difference one way or the other. What drives growth isn’t advertising, or slogans, or cool logos. That might get people through the doors, but it doesn’t lead them to stay.

People stay when they find what they need. (revehstevens, June 4)

Teaching men and boys

Liz James writes about what she and her husband teach their sons about living in a culture of violence.

I taught my sons to scream “no”, too. I taught them to run fast. I taught them about the risk of attack when walking alone at night (men are more likely to be victims of stranger-perpetrated violence than women are). I taught them about the nuances of consent . . . both for when they are giving consent and when they are receiving it.

And I taught them about privilege, and expectations of masculinity, and hard choices. And then I listened. (Rebel With a Labelmaker, May 30)

For Doug Muder, the #YesAlllWomen discussion was an eye-opener, as it was for many men.

YesAllWomen is at its best when women simply tell their stories, one after another. Read enough stories and the bigger reality starts to break through: The meaning of Isla Vista isn’t that shit happens, it’s that the same kinds of shit keep happening day after day all over the country. (The Weekly Sift, June 2)

And more UU content

Kim Hampton continues her series examining the connection between White flight and the Fellowship Movement.

I stand by my assertion that federal housing policy benefited the growth of Unitarianism (and later Unitarian Universalism) in both good and not-so-good ways. This is not an indictment (ok, maybe it is). But I think to ignore this when talking about how and why Unitarian Universalism is the way it is and WHERE Unitarian Universalism is where it is does us all a disservice. (East of Midnight, May 30)

Justin Almeida answers a friend’s question, “Why would you want to be a chaplain?”

I feel like I can be the person who holds a dying person’s hand as they take their last breath. I want to be the person who can sit and weep with the mother who just lost her child. I need to be the person who can be present with the man who has lost his faith. I can be available to my fellow human being who is hurting, share that dark tunnel journey with them, and walk out out the other end with them into the light again. (What’s My Age Again?, June 1)

The Rev. Amy Zucker Morgenstern hopes that UUs in Portland and Columbus think seriously about planning UU day camps during upcoming General Assemblies. (Mookie’s Mama, June 4)

Reading online UU content

One challenge of reading UU online content is finding your personal Goldilocks zone—enough, but not too much.

Since its beginning, the Interdependent Web has been the amuse-bouche of blog coverage—just a taste, carefully arranged. At the other end of the spectrum has been the bountiful buffet at UUpdates.net.

This past week I started playing with a middle range, promoting more online content on the Interdependent Web’s Facebook Page than I can in the weekly column. If you’re looking for more than the Friday column, but not quite as much as UUpdates, try the Interdependent Web on Facebook.

Categories: UU News

UU climate activist blames Baby Boomers, and other UUs in the media

UU in the news - Fri, 2014-06-06 12:00

DeChristopher expresses frustration with older generation of liberals

Unitarian Universalist divinity school student and prominent climate change activist Tim DeChristopher shares his view of the generational rift within the environmental justice movement and his thoughts on how he connects his faith to his activism work. (truthout.org – 6.4.14)

For more on DeChristopher: “Tim DeChristopher’s path” (UU World – Winter 2012)

UUs call for changes in sentencing, wages, more

Over 1,000 faith leaders, including Unitarian Universalist Association President the Rev. Peter Morales, have signed a letter urging the U.S. Congress to support a smarter sentencing reform bill to reduce mandatory minimum sentences for federal drug offenses. (eNews Park Forest – 6.3.14)

The Rev. Jeff Liebmann, of the UU Fellowship of Midland, Mich., adds his voice to the growing number of religious leaders calling for a raise in the minimum wage. Liebmann argues that in a world where there is enough for all, why should one person experience want? (Midland Daily News – 6.2.14)

At a recent demonstration outside of U.S. Rep. Charlie Dent’s office in Lehigh Valley, Pa., Unitarian Universalist Pat Uribe-Lichty joined other activists calling for legislative action for humane immigration reform as a pressing human rights issue. (The Express-Times – 6.4.14)

The Rev. Nina Grey of the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Bozeman, Mont., joined clergy of other faiths at City Hall in Bozeman to support the passage of a non-discrimination ordinance that protects people based on their sexual orientation. (Bozeman Daily Chronicle – 6.2.14)

Religious educator shows support for Nigerian abductees

As part of a campaign to keep the more than 200 Nigerian girls abducted by an extremist Muslim group in the hearts and minds of people, Thea Shapiro, director of religious education at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation in Andover, Mass., has created nearly 300 folded origami dresses. (Eagle Tribune – 6.1.14)

More news from UU congregations

The Boston Globe profiles a growing number of scouting groups that are being created as inclusive alternatives to the Boys Scouts. They highlight the thriving Chapter 404 of the Navigators USA group formed through First Church in Belmont, Mass. (The Boston Globe – 6.1.14)

As part of their mission to engage with the larger world, Bank Street Unitarian Chapel in Bolton, England, has offered the use of its building to local Street Angels volunteers who serve the community through individual foot patrols on the streets each weekend. (ThisisLancashire.co.uk – 5.29.14)

In an effort to bridge the gap between the Albuquerque police department and the community, an interfaith group has formed. The Rev. Angela Herrera of First Unitarian Church of Albuquerque, N.Mex., joined the group because of her commitment to non-violence. (KRQE.com – 6.5.14)

Categories: UU News

Hal's apple

UU World - Fri, 2014-06-06 01:00
SPIRIT: A 'magickal being' from the artist's Incognito Witch project.
Categories: UU News

Starr King seminary withholds diplomas amid investigation

UU World - Fri, 2014-06-06 01:00
NEWS: School trying to trace leaked documents from presidential search process.
Categories: UU News
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