Showing posts from January, 2010

Consider Michigan...

I've been thinking a lot about Detroit and Michigan lately.  None of my thoughts have been particularly cheerful.  I was in a discussion last night about my disappointments with the Obama administration's handling of the situation in Michigan.  We named three times in this first year when he has let us down, seeming to not care about the situation here.  First, not rescuing the automobile industry the way the bank bailout was done, but being contented with a "rescue" that left us, as a state, hugely negatively impacted, even though the corporations have survived (barely).  Second, backing Illinois against Michigan and all the other Great Lake states about the situation with the Asian carp.  Third, and most recently, giving Michigan only a pittance of the money for light rail: Illinois 1.23 Billion, Michigan 40 Million.*  Now you can disagree with any of this, explaining why Michigan doesn't deserve more aid.  But what I can tell you is the situation in Michigan i…

Responding to trends

Here at the Heartland Unitarian Universalist Ministers' Association winter conference, we're discussing 13 trends in congregational life from  Recognizing, as one minister pointed out, that trends are not necessarily the same as best practices, how do we adapt our congregations to respond to the changing realities?  These include the increasing racial and ethnic diversity in our country (while UUism remains at an enormously high percentage white; that people increasingly describe themselves as "spiritual but not religious," increasing use of internet, the aging population and the shifting reality of the young adult population as embodying a new stage of life that is "emerging adulthood" where marriage and children are postponed during a period of high freedom of choice and experimentation.

Some of these trends work naturally with Unitarian Universalism.  Some of them we may be well-placed to respond to.  Others we will struggle with more …

Worth Watching...

Liberal Religion: THIS Is the Difference

In introducing the special offering this week for the Haiti earthquake relief funds, I made the following remarks:
           It was hard for me not to drop my entire sermon that I had planned this week and preach on the situation in Haiti.  There’s much to be said about the religious response to sorrow and suffering, and what our theology has to tell us in times like this.  And so, since I can’t help myself, really, I wanted to say a little bit about it here, because I am doing the sermon later on the previously announced subject.
            We often refer to Unitarian Universalism as a liberal religion.  And that’s different from what liberal means in a political sense.  But it’s often hard to articulate what that difference is, and what being a liberal religion means.  Not so this week.  Our liberal faith becomes clear, in sharp contrast to the conservative faith we hear from the televangelists in response to natural devastating catastrophes.  In the wake of 9/11 we heard Jerry Fal…

Haiti - UUSC relief fund

This from the UUSC webpage: 

UUSC is accepting donations to provide aid to the people affected by the January 2010 earthquake in Haiti. If you would like to donate by check, please make it payable to "UUSC/UUA Haiti Earthquake Relief Fund" and mail it to UUSC, P.O. Box 844001, Boston, MA 02284-4001.

If you wish to donate online, go to <>.

When Will This End?

I got an e-mail today about the death of yet another young (age 31) gay man in Michigan, Ryan Ende.  This latest young man's life story was one of pain and rejection, including religious rejection.  Ryan went to seminary to train for the ordained ministry, but was refused ordination because of his sexual orientation. A loving eulogy can be read here on his church's blog.  The eulogy doesn't directly say how Ryan's life ended.  But too many lives of young gay men are cut short, whether it is through violence, suicide, or depression-related issues like alcholism.  Ryan's story is many things, but it is in part the story of a young man's life struck down too soon, a life filled with rejection, and with depression and alcoholism, as described in his obituary.  Reading Ryan's story I was filled with sorrow, because it's a story I've heard too often. 

One of the ways I've seen lives cut too short is through suicide.  I had known that the suicide rate…

Some Good Reads

UU Minister Marilyn Sewell has a discussion with the famous atheist Christopher Hitchens here.  It's worth the read, as is her blog post about the discussion here.

Just a note on Wikipedia

I'm always telling my English 131 students not to trust Wikipedia as a reliable source.  Yes, I often turn to Wikipedia for information, but you have to always remember that the information there can be put up and changed by anyone at any time.

Yesterday, I saw proof of this.  When feminist theologian Mary Daly died two days ago, there was little news found on the internet covering it.   Yesterday, I noticed that her Wikipedia entry had been updated with her death date, but that was one of only three sites I could find reporting her death.  And, at the bottom of the first paragraph, the Wikipedia entry read, "Thankfully the bitch died on January 3, 2010." 

It didn't last long.  I flipped over to the page where you can see the site's history, to see if I could figure out either how to remove it or how to report it.  I achieved neither, and flipped back to the entry.  It was gone.  But the point is, for a brief point in time, that is how the entry read.  Go to any …

Thank You, Mary Daly

A couple of sites are reporting that feminist theologian Mary Daly died this week, although Google News shows no articles yet on the subject.  For those not familiar with Mary Daly... where to begin?

Mary Daly is the author of several books, many of which can be found through Beacon Press, which acquired the right to publish them when they would have gone out of print, I believe, including Beyond God the Father, The Church and the Second Sex, and Gyn/Ecology.  Many people heard of Mary Daly because of a controversy while she was a professor at Boston College in the 1990s.  She refused to have men in her classes, offering them separate opportunities to learn from her.  Some students brought this forth as a legal case, and Daly was required by the school to include men in her classes, whereupon she refused to teach.  Mary Daly was the very definition of a "radical feminist."  Clearly many people think she went too far, and would point to her as an example of feminists being &q…