Showing posts from July, 2014

Paul Ryan fights Poverty?

Paul Ryan has a new Republican plan to fight poverty. It's getting some positive play because he finally stops advocating less spending on the social safety net in order to balance the budget. It's almost like he actually wants to help poor people.

Key to his plan is what he calls an Opportunity Grant, which ties all the social safety net programs  together and gives a lump sum to the states to spend as they wish. Federal money to be spent on behalf of the poor through programs developed and administered by the states.

A lot of federal programs are administered like by states. Unemployment benefits are administered by the states. Medicaid is administered by the states; each state sets it own eligibility and its own benefits level. As a result, Medicaid varies significantly across the country. Some say this is 'federalism', but it is about the worst idea in the history of public policy in the United States.

There is a large number of states who maintain a low-wage, low…

Rev. Dawn Cooley with a new twist on an Old Question

Today I am welcoming the Rev. Dawn Cooley to the Lively Tradition.  Dawn is the minister of the First Unitarian Church of Louisville, KY.   Is Unitarian Universalism a Christian denomination? Some say yes, some say no, but I am guessing most of us aren't really sure what the answer is. I have been tossing this question around quite a bit in my brain lately.
On the one hand, if you use the more orthodox definition of what it means to be a Christian – that is, the inerrancy of the Christian scriptures, and subscription to the Apostles Creed – then we are not. But the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (Mormons) are in a similar boat – they may not be orthodox Christians, but they are trying very hard to make the argument that they are a Christian denomination.
On the other hand, our roots are in Christianity, our worship style is very Protestant, and I have met many liberal Christians who believe very similarly to what many Humanist UUs believe, but who use the Bible as their …

Religious Terrorism [Cindy Landrum]

On July 20, the First Unitarian Universalist Church in New Orleans, Louisiana, became the target of what some have described as "religious terrorism."  It sounds like hyperbole to some, but it is an apt phrase to describe what went on.  The worship service was attended by members of Operation Save America, who proceeded to interrupt the worship service during a time of silent meditation and prayer remembering someone who had recently passed away.  Members of Operation Save America also surrounded the building, banging on windows of the nursery and religious education wing, screaming and holding up graphic images of aborted fetuses.  A letter describing and condemning the actions of Operation Save America has been signed by 40 religious leaders in the New Orleans area, and can be read here.  Operation Save America's account of events, calling this "dynamic witness," can be found on their webpage blog here.  It also says, "After lunch, the saints traveled t…

Co-Existing with Fundamentalist Religion [Tom Schade]

Last Sunday, as most of you know, Operation Save America disrupted the Sunday Service at the First Unitarian Church of New Orleans. It was not the first time that this group attempted to disrupt a UU church.  Here is their report of an 2006 attempt to do the same at the UU Church in Jackson, Mississippi. This time they gained entrance, interrupted the minister who was presiding over a moment of silence. They harangued the crowd, pressing them not only on our UU position on reproductive justice, but also about the content of our religious ideas. What creed did we follow? They accused us as being a "synagogue of Satan."

Why did they do it? Because they are religious fundamentalists, who believe that the world at large must be brought to the correct faith, and that it is their God-given duty to convert or confront all the non-beleivers. They reject the modern paradigm of secular states and pluralist cultures in which differing religions co-exist with each other in peace. 

Water, Water Everywhere and Not a Drop...

My colleague, the Rev. Cynthia Landrum, has written an essay on the water controversy in Detroit. She grew up in the Detroit area and her parents live there, so she is not an outsider. She now serves the Universalist Unitarian Church of East Liberty, MI. I am happy to post her essay here.
Her essay signals a change in the "Lively Tradition." Cynthia is the first of what I hope will be a group of regular contributors to the blog who will bring additional voices to the discussion here. In addition, I hope to bring more one-time only guest bloggers and essayists to the blog. The blog will continue to stand at the intersection of Unitarian Universalist theology and current events and politics. It will also continue to provide an independent, but friendly, point of view on current UU events and controversies.  I promise to try my hardest to make "The Lively Tradition," above all, lively, an online place worth your time to visit regularly.
Water, Water Everywhere and not a…

Reminder: It's Not the Fault of the people of Detroit

The decision of the American auto industry to ignore the demand for fuel-efficient cars was not made on the street corners of Detroit, nor in the offices of the UAW.

The decision of the American auto industry to answer consumer interest in smaller Japanese cars by concentrating more on trucks and SUV's was not made in the poor neighborhoods of Detroit, or by the city government of Detroit.

The decision of the US Automakers to disinvest in Detroit and move auto production to non-union states like Kentucky, Tennessee and Georgia was not made by a popular referendum south of 8 Mile Road.

The decision to respond to the economic calamity that was the result of the disinvestment in Detroit with loans to the city, rather than through a state and regional reinvestment and development assistance -- well, that decision was not made by city employees of Detroit.

The people who made the critical decisions that have led to Detroit's plight do not live in Detroit, and they are, for the mos…

Mississippi Freedom Summer Project -- Story of Hope and Victory

This map is the bus tour sponsored by the Living Legacy Project and The UU College of Social Justice that have been on. 

The big history of the Mississippi Summer Freedom Project.

The story of the 1964 Mississippi Summer Freedom Project can get lost in terror and tragedy. The brave decision of four Mississippi Civil Rights organizations to bring a thousand college age volunteers from around the country to push their voter registration drive forward was audacious. The state's white power structure mobilized as though the state was being invaded, including the deployment of the Klan, as an armed terrorist organization to intimidate the civil rights worker. No sooner had the volunteer training session in Oxford, Ohio come to an end, were three Civil Rights workers killed: James Chaney, Mickey Schwerner and Andrew Goodman. The Summer Project started with death.

The violence continued all summer long. The Klan was active all summer, shooting into houses and offices, following people, dr…

I'm Back with One big Thought on Ministry in the 21st Century

I finally made it home after three weeks on the road: General Assembly, a week in Boston, driving to Memphis and then a week in Mississippi for the Freedom Summer History Tour, and then home here to Ann Arbor.

I will be posting my thoughts on General Assembly and the Mississippi Summer Freedom Project History Tour over the next few days. I met some amazing people and have some good pictures.

But the one big thought about "Ministry in the 21st Century" which has been riding along with me all across the miles is this: it's about the 21st Century!

The big problem is NOT adapting to new technology. We are all going to get to the new technology sooner or later, along with everybody else. Some adapt faster and some lag behind. That was true with the telephone too.

The big problem is also NOT about responding to generational changes. Time will take care of that situation. The geezerfication of the Boomers is well under way and by 2064, we will be singing in the heavenly choir,…

You Must Sing!

Make a little room in your day for this testimony .. and this exhortation .. from an immense talent.