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As we reported this week, the UUA’s Boston staff were unable to move into our new headquarters until Thursday. And our intrepid Interdependent Web author, Heather Christensen, is midway home on the Alaska-Canadian Highway.
We’ll be back next week, and in the meantime, check out UUpdates.net!
Marriage equality, then and now
On the 10th anniversary of legalized same-sex marriage in Massachusetts, E.J. Graff, senior fellow at the Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism and author of What Is Marriage For? The Strange Social History of Our Most Intimate Institution, reflects on the fight for marriage equality. (Boston Globe – 5.16.14)
Since Tuesday’s federal court ruling struck down Pennsylvania’s ban on same-sex marriage, the Unitarian Church of Harrisburg has been flooded with requests for wedding services. (Penn Live – 5.22.14)
Having faith in faith
Domenick Scudera writes about visiting a UU church for his niece’s ordination and how the experience helped restore his faith—at least a bit—in the positive qualities of organized religion after years of Catholic doctrine that told him “homosexual acts are ‘intrinsically disordered.’” (Huffington Post – 5.21.14)
Too much information?
The UUA’s sexuality curriculum Our Whole Lives got a shout-out from a reader on The Dish for how it deals frankly with matters such as “lovemaking and pleasure.” The conversation was started by a bioethics professor reflecting on how uninformed her son’s classmates are about sex ed. (The Dish – 5.21.14, 5.20.14)
In the congregations
The Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Statesboro, Ga., is in the process of converting an old auto shop into its new church. (Statesboro Herald – 5.17.14)
One final service will be held at the 123-year-old former home of Detroit’s First Unitarian Church, which was recently destroyed in a fire. A candlelight vigil and ceremony is being organized by Preservation Detroit. (Detroit Free Press – 5.19.14)
At its annual meeting, the Unitarian Society of Northampton and Florence, Mass., voted to divest its endowment of fossil fuel stocks. (MassLive.com – 5.19.14)
The Rev. Marti Keller suggests a practical Mother’s Day gift.
While glossy Mother’s Day ads urge us to honor and reward Mamas with flowers, candy and bracelet charms, for many mothers a reliable supply of diapers would have a lasting impact on their self-worth and dignity and the care of their babies. (Leaping Spheres, May 7)
The Rev. Debra Haffner will be remembering the kidnapped girls of Nigeria on Mother’s Day.
On Mother’s Day, I will light candles for them and for their mothers. I hope you will join me. (Sexuality and Religion, May 8)Every day a holy day
The Rev. Ann Barker asks, “How can I serve the world when I can’t even find my keys?”
‘Serve the World’ doesn’t have to be overwhelming. ‘Serve the World’ can be as simple as offering your patience to the person fixing your coffee … as easy as donating your outgrown clothes … as gentle as taking that mindful pause you’ve been promising yourself. (The Grove, May 7)
After the Rev. Christiana McQuain’s son helps return a puppy to its home, he feels like a superhero; McQuain writes that we, too can be everyday heroes.
As we turned toward our own home with an empty leash, my son remarked, “I feel really good now. Like we did something special.”
His friend replied, “You were right!” (Apparently they’ve had this conversation before.) “We don’t need super powers to be heroes.”. (Words of Wisdom, May 7)
Christine Organ is tired of all the noise in her life.
Lately I find myself craving less noise, and more sounds. More laughter and listening to the voices that really count. More music. More meditation, prayer and reflection, more awareness and gratitude, more stillness and quiet. (Quest for Meaning, May 2)
Catherine Clarenbach honors the feast day of Julian of Norwich.
[Julian’s] idea of the round universe, the creation, all that has been made, in the palm of one’s hand… The idea of a universe maintained in Love… These are great images. Especially coming from plague-stricken, fourteenth-century England.
Her words also call to mind the round Earth of which we are a part and her “Love,” if you will. And moreover, how we seem to be chipping assiduously away at the hand that holds us and our habitat in being. It is not our habitat that will ultimately die. Earth will have the last word. Love for all beings will have the last word. But our turning away from love, from responsibility, may be the last word for us. (The Way of the River, May 6)
Kari Kopnick, after a rough year, celebrates finding her way.
I am the kind of person who usually has a self-righting mechanism. I get really depressed, but I usually turn back around like those self righting bath toys and go paddling along on my grateful days.
This time took a little longer. But I’m here. Upright. And on my way. (Chalice Spark, May 7)Stories of faith
Many UUs participated in a Twitter conversation about faith, centered on the hashtag #MySixWordStoryofFaith; Lori Sirtosky created this image from one of the tweets.
The Rev. Amy Zucker Morgenstern answers the question, “Does God have a gender?” with an exploration of the role of metaphor.
Because I think metaphors are a necessary aspect of human thought (if I wasn’t convinced already, one of George Lakoff’s early books, Metaphors We Live By, with Mark Johnson,sealed it), I think the remedy to their limitations is not to shun them but to use a wide variety of them. This helps prevent us from taking any of them literally, or limiting our understanding to just a couple of characteristics of, in this case, God, or as I prefer to say, the holy. (Sermons in Stones, May 2)
The Rev. Tom Schade shares his recent sermon, celebrating Channing’s famous 1819 Baltimore sermon by “flipping the script.”
If the mark of a conservative theology and politics is demonization, the purpose of liberal theology and politics is humanization.
The Rev. Marti Keller crosses boundaries as a UU and as a board member for the Society for Humanistic Judaism.
I stumbled over words in a language I neither read nor speak in transliterated form with any grace at all. Singing unfamiliar songs, finding my way through only slightly remembered liturgy from previous experiences. Finding myself at times on the margins of this community as a Unitarian even as I have been on the margins of Unitarian Universalism being self-identified as a Jew, a Humanist Jew at that. (On Sundays We Walk Our Dogs, May 6)More UU content
Responding to depressing news about climate change, the Rev. Dan Harper suggests that we “Abandon rational argument, and chant together” Gary Snyder’s Smokey the Bear Sutra. (Yet Another Unitarian Universalist, May 7)
During his first year of seminary, Walter Clark learned (from James Luther Adams’ negative example) to honor his commitments to his family.
So while I really enjoyed learning about the synoptic gospels, compassionate communication, the reformation and all that, the thing I walked away with this year is to remember that I am not the only one in seminary. My whole family is in with me. If I fail a class, I may have to take an extra semester in order to overcome it, but I cannot fail my family. (Lack of a Clever Title, May 3)
The Rev. Mary Wellemeyer asks, “Is a small congregation a black hole?”
The woman sat in my office and tried to explain. It was just too much, she said. One leadership commitment always led to two more. Or worse, when she signed up to do a piece of a project, she often turned out to be organizing the whole thing. “It’s a black hole,” she said. “It sucks you in and never lets you out.” She had done it long enough. She was going to find an alternative to church, something that did not require her to give up her life. I wished her well, and told her I hoped she would be back in time. (Open Road, May 5)UUA headquarters moving
As of Monday, May 19, the UUA’s headquarters will be at 24 Farnsworth Street, Boston MA 02110. On Friday May 16 (and continuing through Monday the 19th) email and phone service, as well as staff availability, may be sporadic. The Interdependent Web will take a break and return on Friday, May 23.