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Blog roundup, Spring 2015
Online responses to UU World.
A slow genocide
The #blacklivesmatter movement drew sustained attention.
Kim Hampton of East of Midnight wrote, “As someone who has been trained for the ministry, I am supposed to be all about preaching healing, reconciliation, and redemption. Yet right now the last thing I need or want is to heal or reconcile. There is no redemption to be had in this slow genocide.” (12.1.14)
The Rev. Dr. Victoria Weinstein at PeaceBang challenged: “For many white folks, the . . . longest march may be the one that takes us down from the dais of competitive debate and rational inquiry to the common ground of listening, witnessing, mourning and embracing. Put down the newspaper and the computer. There are caskets going by.” (12.4.14)
Kenny Wiley of A Full Day spoke from two identities—UU and black: “Unitarian Universalists, you are my people. And UUs, my ‘other’ people—of which some of you are—need you. We need you to show up. We need you to listen and go beyond platitudes. Not everyone can travel hundreds of miles, but we can all do something—something beyond what we thought we could do.” (10.15.14)
The Rev. Krista Taves of And the Stones Shall Cry wrote, “When we call the police to a higher standard . . . we are wanting them to become the fullest manifestation of what they are supposed to be, servants of the community.” (12.4.14)
The Rev. Meg Riley shared her “guerilla grandma” protest strategies at Huffington Post and urged others to act: “You’ve read enough; you know what happened. Now act. Find a buddy to support you. Think creatively about how to speak out in unlikely places.” (12.9.14)
The Rev. Scott Wells of Boy in the Bands pushed back against UU preferences for protests over policy-making: “What do we have to gain by (what amounts to) an exercise in collective holiness? Less, I contend, than we have to offer by participating constantly in the nitty-gritty of public policy.” (12.10.14)
The Rev. Tom Schade of The Lively Tradition wrote: “It is not the duty of a UU minister to represent all views in the congregation . . . [It] is the duty of UU ministers to lead congregations into the social movements against racism, even if it makes some members of those congregations angry or uncomfortable.” (12.5.14)
Also writing at The Lively Tradition, the Rev. Dr. Cynthia Landrum said that “To respond to ‘Black Lives Matter’ with ‘All Lives Matter’ is a response that minimizes, with its proclamation of equality, the current inequalities experienced.” (11.25.14)
Seminaries and Seminarians
Controversy at Starr King School for the Ministry (see page 40) and the plight of seminarians in general was another focus.
The Rev. Dan Harper of Yet Another Unitarian Universalist wrote that “from an ethical standpoint, the SKSM leadership should accept blame for the release of sensitive information, and they should publicly apologize to all three candidates for the SKSM presidency, staff, students, and anyone else affected by the poor security protocols.” (9.25.14)
The Rev. Dawn Cooley, writing at Speaking of, suggesting that “Strapped Student” (the unnamed seminarian at the heart of this controversy) step forward and accept responsibility: “Come forward so that these two students can continue on with their lives, so that the burden of their futures is lifted from you, and so that you can do the work you really wanted to do in revealing those documents. It won’t be easy. Ministry rarely is.” (11.22.14)
Free Range Seminarian Liz James wrote that the current process of ministerial formation is the wrong kind of hard: “This system skews ministry to be filled with people who are either independently wealthy or delusionally optimistic about debt. And, once we are trained, we are financially shackled and unable to take risks and be creative. A pulpit in debt is not a free pulpit. . . The only solution left, then, is to think radically and creatively about making the whole thing less expensive.” (12.3.14)
Claire Curole of The Sand Hill Diaries wrote about her hopes for a better way: “We could . . . consider the question, ‘What will Unitarian Universalist ministry need to look like if it is to be relevant in the 21st century?’ and then create a process that selects for and supports that vision instead of continually repainting the language and adding knobs and widgets (or milestones and competencies) to a model whose baseline assumptions . . . are rooted in the wealthy Anglo-Saxon Protestant norms of the early 20th century.” (12.8.14)
This article appeared in the Spring 2015 issue of UU World (pages 60-61).