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Showing posts from December, 2014

What Ministers Can Do

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The public life of the country is roiling and boiling.

The incredible upsurge of the anti-racist movement, led by young people of color, since Ferguson has brought racism front and center.

Now, we have the inevitable counter-attack, led by the New York City Police Union. An article posted yesterday by Max Blumenthal at Alternet details talk among the police union and New York Tea Party Republicans for an on-going campaign to "support the police." It's white backlash political opportunism.

It's on. The whole, messy, angry, honest, painful "Conversation About Race" that everybody said they wanted is on, and it is not being moderated by Jim Lehrer.

Ministers of liberal religion, such as the Unitarian Universalists and others, are used to conducting our ministry in the political climate of the 80's and 90's, when conservatism was culturally dominant. And we need to think about how that is changing in a new historical era.

I had only served a year when 9/…

Why We're Not Waiting for Rosa [by Cindy Landrum]

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There are many people who lament that Michael Brown is the particular focus of these rallies and protests.  Most recently, in Time, John McWhorter writes, "I mourn Brown as we all do, but I worry that we have chosen the wrong tragedy to wake this country up" ("Ferguson Is the Wrong Tragedy"). 

Yes, the critics of this choice say, we need to do something about police violence, but why not choose someone more innocent, someone who didn't steal cigarettes before his death at the hands of police?  Why not John Crawford, shot for choosing to shop for a BB gun at Wal-Mart?  Or even Tamir Rice, shot this month within seconds of the arrival of the policy, for playing with a toy gun in a park?   At only 12 years old, he's less the image of the "thug" than Michael Brown was.

 McWhorter writes, "But we must consider the contrast with, say, Martin, killed for resisting a baseless detainment by a self-declared neighborhood patrolman.  Or Amadou Diallo, ki…

Take a Break and Light Your Chalice

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Light Your Chalice.

When the news of the world fills you with dread and anguish, light your chalice. Your discomfort is telling you that you are torn and that you wrestle with contradictory ideas or goals. You have a divided heart and a troubled mind.

Light Your Chalice. Sit in its small circle of light.

There is a spirit that flows through the religion of the chalice. No one person can name it exactly, but it is carried by words like "generous" and "compassion" and "dignity" and "hope" and "fair".  It is the promise of our congregations, however imperfectly they live.

Light Your Chalice and try to touch this evanescent spirit, the spirit that is the deep calling to the deepest in you.

Is this spirit not a challenge to you? Doesn't ask you for more than you think you can give? More generous sympathy for the other? More kindness and patience? More imagination? More time and energy for the expression of love and nurturance of justice? …

The Power of One [By Rev. Shelley Page]

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December 6, 2014
I note the power of one and the power of many.  
I called each and every African American church in Ogden on the morning after the Ferguson non-indictment, expressing solidarity and sorrow.  I had hoped to talk with people directly but ended leaving voice mail messages, something like:
“Hello. I am Rev. Shelley Page, interim minister at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Ogden and I’ve only been in town since August.  This is a message for Pastor ________. We haven’t had the pleasure of meeting yet, but I want you to know that I am heartbroken about the decision in Ferguson.  And my congregation is heartbroken, too.  We wish to express our sorrow and our solidarity at this difficult time.  If your congregation plans any public witness events, please let us know. We will be there beside you, standing on the side of love. Here is my personal cell phone and email if you would like to contact me. In the meanwhile, know that you are not alone. We stand together in love.”As…

What I Would Say....

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I now longer serve a congregation, but I still find myself thinking as though I did. It's a habit and it dies hard. I wrote this newsletter column in my head the other day, before I remembered that there was no newsletter to publish it in. Well, there is this blog.


My dear congregants -- 
My head, my heart and my gut tell me that  I need to do everything I can to advance the growing movement against "blue-on-black" crime. I want you to join me. Now is the time that Unitarian Universalists should step up and step more deeply into the movements against racism. 
One of our most basic beliefs is that every human being counts. We believe in people and we believe in persons. It's in everything we do. We have formalized that belief with the phrase 'the inherent worth and dignity of every person' and embedded it in our first principle. 
But, African Americans and other people of color are telling us that, from what they have experienced, black lives do not matter in thi…

Anonymity and Blogging [by Cindy Landrum]

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It's very common in the blogging world for bloggers to write anonymously.  I thought about this a lot before blogging myself, and decided carefully that anonymity didn't serve my purposes and that I would take the risks of being open with my identity.  But it does have risks.  While I decided to be public from the beginning, it was with understanding that it might limit me, make me be less bold, less willing to confront authority.  And it made me vulnerable to critique, to hate mail, to attack.  At the time, the UU "blogosphere" was populated with a lot of anonymous blogs, although some of their identities were known.  Here's a couple of those early bloggers -- Philocrities & Lizard Eater -- discussing anonymity in early blogging on the VUU (at about 14:35).

Today more bloggers have their name attached to their blogs, but it's still not unusual for bloggers to blog anonymously.  And this may be particularly true for seminarians, who may be testing out th…