Showing posts from August, 2015

Can't Have One without the Other

The Black Lives Matter Move-ment has brought the question
white privilege to the forefront of white America's consciousness.

For most, it has been profoundly disturbing, blowing up cherished family narratives. Thinking about white privilege challenges the mythologies of US history that support the white nationalist ideology: the assumption that this country was made by and for white Europeans, while other peoples have only bit parts in our history.

The people are in the midst of intense ideological struggle, and it has implications for how every person thinks of themselves and their family and their community and their country. And so we see all these reactionary movements stirring: the intimidating gun movement, the defense of the confederacy, church-burnings, the pro-police funding campaigns which reward killer-cops, the anti-Latinx anti-immigration campaigns, even the scapegoating of foreign countries as the source of economic problems in the USA, the Trump campaign, the shri…

Black Pain -- White Distance: What Katrina taught me about myself.

This article makes clear the relationship between the flood in the aftermath of Katrina and the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement. Its thesis is that African Americans were forcefully reminded that white America was largely unconcerned about their suffering. Their lives did not matter, in so many words, although Kanye West expressed at the time by saying that "George Bush does not care about Black people."

Those days brought home to me all the ways that I used to separate myself from the suffering of black people: all the mental tricks, all the ways that I turned away, all my denying and distancing habits.

This is what I preached on September 18, 2005:

Let’s start here. I suspect  that when we think about the people of New Orleans, especially the black and the poor, it takes courage to imagine ourselves in their present situation.  Imagine watching your home flooded, and that you lose almost everything you own.  Imagine making your way through the flooded streets to pu…

Accessible and Holistic....

I have said that Unitarian Universalism must become the most accessible and holistic manifestation of the movement for social transformation.

Somebody has asked "what on earth does that means?"

Let me break it down:


How can people access the social movements that are bubbling up all over the country? If you live in an all-white suburb, how do you access the Black Lives Matter movement? If you live in Kansas, how do you respond to the inspiration of the young adults who suspended themselves off that bridge in Portland, Oregon to stop a Shell icebreaker needed for Arctic drilling? Indeed, if you live in Portland, and are of an age that hanging off of a bridge is not something you are up to doing, how do you participate in that movement?

If you are not a young adult, if you are not living in a major urban area, if you have limited free time and unlimited family responsibilities, how do you connect to the transformative social movements? You can read about …

Public Theology and the Social Gospel

A friend on Facebook bemoaned what they saw as a lack of a social gospel in Unitarian Universalism.

Because she had made this comment in a response to my earlier post on the National Church Leadership Institute 2015 (NCLI15), I felt the need to speak, but my first response was "Just Shoot Me Now. Please."

This blog, which is the bulk of my work for the last two and half years, has been all about encouraging and participating in theological reflection from a UU perspective on the condition of the world as we know it.  I use the hashtag #uupublictheology for this work.The word "public" comes from the Latin "populus" meaning people and the word "theology" is from the Greek words "theos" and "logos", meaning "talk about God." Public theology is talking about the life of the collective people and of God. And as Universalists, we now understand the "people of God" as the whole human race.

We wake up in the middl…

How to Renew the Church -- My takeaway from NCLI15

Just back from the National Church Leadership Institute, a conference put on by the Center for Progressive Renewal. What you need to know about the CPR is that their tagline is "We believe that your church's best days are ahead." They are working for the revival of the progressive mainline Protestant church.

The tagline for NCLI15 was "The Headlines tell a story of decline and despair, but cultural trendlines paint a picture of possibility." The trendlines of which they speak are summed up as Local, Do-It-Yourself, the Cloud, the Shared Economy and Crowdsourcing. Read down the linked call to the NCLI15 conference for their summary of these trendlines.

Conference participants were challenged to think about how these new/old ways of working and being could invigorate the church's work of building community and embodying the gospel in the world.

But the most excitement was generated by two presentations by black female church leaders: Rev. Jacqui Lewis and Bis…