Casting a compelling vision
The Rev. Tom Schade has a theory about why pledge giving is declining in UU congregations.
The cause of Unitarian Universalism, as we now understand it, is not sufficiently compelling to generate the resources to continue itself. . . .
We have to look beyond the people who are presently passionate about Unitarian Universalism. There is a much larger group of people we would reach IF they could see that we would directly connect them to the transformation that they are anxious to see in the world. (The Lively Tradition, April 22)
The Rev. Madelyn Campbell received a hand-made stole at her recent ordination, with pieces of her late husband’s clothing woven into it.
[As] I wore it, it felt like a giant hug. A hug from God, and a hug from Don, and a hug from the Stole-Maker and the congregations that assembled to ordain me.
Now every time I wear it, I’ll remember this day. When I put it on, I will say a short prayer for my colleagues who are also preparing for worship and putting on their own vestments. I’ll remember that I’m not alone in this work, for the burden is shared by many. (The Widow’s Mite-y Blog, April 16)
Diana McLean walks a labyrinth, and revisits her grief about her father’s death.
Another turn or two into the labyrinth, I remembered the one thing I always seem to forget about labyrinth walking: it inevitably makes me cry. There’s something about it that opens me up, gets me out of my head and into my body, and thus also into my heart, and always leaves me in tears. Sometimes I don’t even know what I’m crying about, only that I’ve tapped into a place of deeper emotion than where I spend most of my time.
This time, I knew. I knew right away, as I found myself saying aloud, “I miss you, Dad.” (Poetic Justice, April 18)
Cherishing this holy place
The Rev. Dr. Marilyn Sewell understands why people aren’t doing as much as they could to combat climate change.
People are overwhelmed by the enormity of the problem, coupled with the lack of political will, worldwide, so they distract themselves from their fear and grief, and just get on with their everyday lives.
But we don’t have the luxury of despair. Global warming has become the vital work, the spiritual call that time and circumstance have placed before us. When the house is on fire, we don’t say, I don’t have time—we get the hell out of there, and take the kids. (HuffPost, April 20)
The Rev. Lynn Ungar recognizes that saying “Happy Earth Day” is a bit odd, given the challenges the planet faces.
There is so much to be done, so much to heal, so many forces pushing against a life that is sustainable. The only way we will be able to find our way through will be through cherishing this holy place where we dwell, which was never given to us as a resource to exploit, but which holds us in sacred interdependence. May that sacred interdependence bring you joy. Happy Earth Day. (Quest for Meaning, April 22)
Karen Johnston acknowledges the limits of what any one of us can do—and yet the necessity of all of us doing what we can.
I fear removing my shoes and walking barefoot because beneath my feet I will find the crusty, sharp edges of my own complicity. . . .
I am still working out what I can do. There might not be enough time for me to keep working out my part, and I am not sure what to do about that except to keep doing what I am doing the best that I can. (Irrevspeckay, April 21)
The Rev. Dr. Carl Gregg weighs in on the “bet” about which will win out—overpopulation or human ingenuity.
Necessity can’t be the mother of invention if one is denying there is any necessity that requires invention!
. . . [Will] we stand up, will we speak up, and will we show up?
And it is not enough for that choice to be made individually, such as whether [or] how extensively we will choose to recycle. We need one another to collectively demand the systematic changes that will be required to return to right relationship with ourselves, with one another, and with this one fragile planet which we humans call home. (Pluralism, Pragmatism, Progressivism, April 22)
Drawing a big circle
The Rev. James Ford remembers the birthday of poet Edwin Markham, best known in Unitarian Universalism for his poem, “Outwitted,” which begins, “He drew a circle that shut me out . . . .”
I am moved at how he saw his spirituality and his political life intertwined, perhaps even in some profound sense, one. And it was that spirituality of inclusion, the great heart of the Universalist way that called him to stand with the poor and the dispossessed. (Monkey Mind, April 23)
The Rev. Chip Roush shares opening words for worship, celebrating the fact that each one of us “is enough.”
The universe is full of love,
showering us with it, every moment,
and that love is not only outside of us.
We, too, are filled with love.
The instant we remember that fact,
we regain access
to the care, courage and compassion
that is our human birthright. (So May We Be, April 20)
Adam Dyer fights back against invisibility—his own, and that of Rekia Boyd, who was killed by an off-duty police officer.
Like too many other black lives, male AND female, she is completely invisible in the eyes of the court, the media, education, health,…until, she is perceived to be a threat or a burden; then for as long as it takes a bullet to travel from the barrel of a gun, she becomes a haphazard target for a testosterone charged index finger that is trained to contract at the sight of black skin.
But you know what? I see you Rekia Boyd…and God willing, many more of us see you too. (Spirituwellness, April 20)