More than a cozy haven
Jordinn Nelson Long and her family find “slow church” in a consumer culture that expects immediate gratification.
I hope that in the course of your own religious life there are at least a few sermons that you gratefully carry—the feelings, the moment of awakening—for years after hearing them.
This was one for my family; the moment when we realized that we weren’t satisfied because we cannot consume community. That we were unsure where else to turn because we can’t purchase wisdom and depth. And that we need the flawed, frustrating collective because as humans, we are not wired to individually find our way to gratitude, love, or healing. (Raising Faith, March 22)
Christine Slocum has stopped going to church, because no matter how hard she tries, the only nearby UU congregation isn’t a good fit.
What I am seeking when I go to church is a place that will facilitate living my faith. A consumerist approach, as Jordinn notes, is the wrong one, as my faith requires that I give a lot of time, energy, and love. However, it requires that I give it to the world, not just to other self-identifying UUs. (Christine Slocum, March 22)
The Rev. Tom Schade suggests that a focus on community building hasn’t been an effective strategy for UUs.
Creating covenanted, healthy, spiritually nourishing, genuinely inclusive, peaceful, and safe communities became our evangelical and ecclesiological method. But now, the strategy of community-building has become so pervasive, it is unseeable.
. . . . We believe that there is a deep hunger for community out there, but is that really true?
Building community has its own value, but maybe it’s time to reconsider whether, as a strategy, it is enough to change our anemic growth trends. (The Lively Tradition, March 25)
The Rev. Dr. David Breeden is tired of childish squabbles, and wants an adult conversation about truth and meaning.
In matters of religion, the question of who is right and who wrong dims before the fact that so many people are harmed by the wrangling and tribalism around the question. . . .
Who will be the grownups?
What is the practical difference in actions between atheists, agnostics, theists and those who just don’t care? (Quest for Meaning, March 26)
The Rev. Kit Ketcham’s beliefs about “power beyond human power” have evolved.
I have not gone so far as to think of myself as an atheist, or even agnostic, because both these terms do not describe where I am in my thinking. To me it is undeniable that there is power beyond human power. Some people call this power God but grant to the power a state of being that is too human-like to satisfy me. (Ms. Kitty’s Saloon and Road Show, March 24)
Elizabeth warns about easy answers.
Don’t be enticed by the promise that things will be okay. . . . It will always be hard, if you are living well you will be struggling, you will be aching, you will be longing and loving and failing and getting up again. It is messy out there, beautifully and excruciatingly messy. (Elizabeth’s Little Blog, March 24)
As he celebrates his 70th birthday, the Rev. Ken Collier thinks about living and dying.
I’ve had my share of disappointment, sorrow, grief, and pain. . . . And I’ve also had my share of joy and success and and love. . . . Accept the one and you get the other. Reject the other, and you lose the one. . . . And so as I love my life, I also love its end. Which will come in its own time. While I wait, I intend to live, as fully, as freely, and as joyful as I can, embracing whatever lot happens to fall to me. And when my death does embrace me, I intend to return the embrace.
Death is just not the big issue. Life is. (The Colliery, March 26)
Working in a congregation with a difficult history, the Rev. Theresa Novak’s direct style “is freaking a few folks out.”
Homophobia will come out, if it exists, during a conflict, just as racism will. Even among liberals and self defined radicals and progressives. It is in our culture and individuals can’t always help it, but it is also important to name it when it happens.
I have been accused of “unwelcome touching.”
I have been called a bully.
I think they were really calling me a bull dyke.
I think they are afraid of me.
I hope I can find a way to walk with them through that fear. (Sermons, Poetry, and Other Musings, March 24)
Living lightly on the earth
As a climate crisis looms, the Rev. Tom Schade asks, “Who will be saved?”
As it now stands, it is the global elite that will survive. They will migrate to the most habitable places; they will monopolize the resources needed for life; they will deploy the arms to protect themselves from the increasingly desperate masses. Everything we know about the modern arrangements of power tell us that this is true. . . .
Unitarian Universalists. . . . believe in Universal Salvation: all of humanity is a single unit. Our faith is that we share a common fate. For us, the climate crisis is a struggle for global justice and solidarity. (The Lively Tradition, March 24)
Patrick Murfin answers the question, “Why should anyone give a damn about World Water Day?”
With another year in an epic drought under its belt, National Aeronautic and Space Administration (NASA) satellite photos reveal that California has only about one year’s stored capacity in it reservoir system. Strict compulsory rationing may be necessary but is being fought tooth and nail by business interests. One of the nation’s riches agricultural regions may essentially go out of production. (Heretic, Rebel, a Thing to Flout, March 22)
Karen Johnston is uneasy about finally making the move to a smartphone.
Despite its inconsequential heft in the palm of my hand, it is weighing heavily on me.
It weighs heavily because it is yet another way I do not live lightly on the earth. . . .
May I use this device to tap into and strengthen the interconnected web of all existence, rather than to add to its unraveling.
May I demonstrate the discipline to know when to disconnect, that it not lead to my ignoring other people, Nature, or my own heart’s true needs. (Irrevspeckay, March 26)