Showing posts from June, 2012

Brave -- The First Princess Tale Good for Mothers

I took my daughter to see Brave this week, and really loved it.  As I reflected on what I loved so much, I realized that this was almost the first "princess movie" I had seen with a positive (and living) mother figure.  The movie is the first animated movie I've seen with my daughter which is really a mother/daughter movie.  There are good father/son movies - Up! is an example of a father-stand-in and boy movie.  How to Train Your Dragon and Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs both figure heroes who have strained relationships with fathers who don't understand them which get resolved through the events of the movie.  If you look to animal characters, you quickly see a strong father/son relationship in The Lion King and Finding Nemo.  But stories that tell about mother/daughter relationships are exceedingly rare in the animated film category.  First of all, as has been pointed out, this is Pixar's first animated film with a female star.  But there are plenty of Disn…

No Mas Muertes

I bought this pendant from a booth in the exhibit hall at General Assembly today.  This year the exhibit hall is different, in that they've invited some local groups to come and share their wares.  This pendant benefits the Hogar de Esperanza y Paz (Home of Hope and Peace), which provides food for children, adult education classes, and children's camps.  The Hogar Women's Cooperative makes these medallions.  One of the artists was kind enough to tell me the story.  I had her tell it to me twice on two different days (and bought a pendant each time), through an interpreter, to get some of the details, although I'm sure I've lost some of them already.  The second time I asked about the process of making the medallions, which I was told on the first day is a two day process.  After hearing all the many steps it takes to make these, I can see why it takes so long.  It was really complicated, and I couldn't possibly repeat the information, unfortunately.  I thanked…

Tent City

I'm outside "tent city" in Phoenix with about 2000 Unitarian Universalists and allies.   It is 99 degrees now that it is night time, down from 109 today.  In tent city, people who are rounded up for deportation are imprisoned out in this heat without  relief.  We are told that they can hear us in the tent city, as we chant and sing and cheer.It is wonderful to have the UCC president (his title is different but I don't have it handy) with us tonight and telling us the UCC is with us in this fight.

GA Off the Grid

In the last two years, I've known some ministers who attend GA without attending GA.  That is, they come to the city of the General Assembly, but don't register for General Assembly.  In doing so, they save registration costs, but are still able to have lunch and dinner meetings with colleagues, or churches, if they're in search, or meet with denominational committees if necessary.  There are a few GA events that are open to the public, as well -- Sunday morning worship, and the Service of the Living Tradition, and the exhibit hall on Sunday.  This year there are even more, since any person can attend the witness events that are held outside of the convention center, and that includes more events this year.

There are always good UU events to be found outside of the General Assembly programming, too, and this year I find myself, although registered for GA, interested in attending more of it.  One high-profile example is an event hosted by the Unitarian Universalist Service …

The New Jim Crow

Yesterday I went to hear Michelle Alexander speak about her book, The New Jim Crow.  I also went to a follow-up session with the author of a UU study guide. Sadly, Alexander.had time for only two or three questions, and I was about eighth in line.I think to read this book, no matter how progressive already, is to have a great awakening--at least it was for me.And hearing her speak here in Arizona, it became clear to me that our immigration system is also part of the new Jim Crow.  It is so similar in effect on a people to our prison system.

Study/Action Issues & Vaginas

Tomorrow we vote on what Study/Action issue to adopt for 2012-2016, and I haven't made up my mind yet which one I'm voting for.  I talked with a proponent of "CSAI 1 - Climate Action and Adaptation Plans: Why Greenhouse Gases and their Effects Matter to Us" today, who points out that if we don't save the earth, none of these other issues will matter.  Well, yeah.  That's a point.  And he also points out that some of the other issues are related to this one, particularly "CSAI 2 - Families, Population, and the Environment."  I've also seen that a lot of people I know are walking around wearing anti-slavery buttons and that there seems to be a lot of support for "CSAI 5 - Ending Slavery."  The advocate for CSAI 1 asked me, "Well, what is your congregation engaged in?"  We're engaged in all these issues to some extent.  Our JXN Community Forum series has often engaged in environmental issues.  Our members are individually in…

A New Era in Ethics -- Finally

The UU Ministers Association voted today to pass new language for a year of study. This language would change our code of professional ethics from language that basically outlawed specific actions to a much simpler and straight-forward "19 words."  The new language reads: "I will not engage in sexual contact, sexualized behavior, or a sexual relationship with any person I serve professionally."Previously, the guidelines forbade sexual relationships with people one counsels, interns, married congregants, staff, minors, and, if married, anyone one serves professionally except one's partner.The new language passed by a majority this year and must pass by two-thirds next year.  (This, incidentally, means it is harder to change the UUMA code of conduct than it is to change the state of Michigan's constitution--which is certainly more a problem for Michigan.)I voted for this, although I was torn, as I have known colleagues who have met their spouse in their cong…

Doing the Work of Social Justice

The thought shared today in ministry days is that doing social justice without having the models and training is like doing the work of religious education without renaissance modules and trained religious education professionals.We do have models and structures out there that we can tap into, though.  In Michigan we have the Michigan UU Social Justice Network (MUUSJN), which recently brought a workshop on healthcare to Jackson.  We can network with other local (non-UU) congregations, and with other Michigan UU churches.  We need something like what we had in Jackson with the Jackson Interfaith Peacekeepers, but with a broader social justice platform.I think one of the questions is: What do we want from our faith?  Are we looking for our religion to be a place from which we do social justice?  If so, let's start working on putting the structures in place to do that ministry.

The Importance of Friendship

When I was a child, I went to a UU church that was a larger-sized church for a church in our movement.  The church religious education program was large enough to have paid staff, and a different classroom for every two grade levels through 7th grade, an eight-grade class of its own for coming of age, and an active high school group.  But a church that size often comes in a larger metro area, as was the case with Birmingham Unitarian Church in Bloomfield Hills, MI.  And so, in my school, I was one of only a small hand-full of families with Unitarian Universalist children in our school district of Ferndale, and in my grade there was only one other UU.  I was lucky--I think my two sisters had no other UUs in their grade in our school.  When I got to High School as a freshman, there were still the two of us UUs in a graduating class of over 300, and three UUs that I knew of in the school, although I later found that there were two sisters who went to another one of the metro area UU chur…