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Showing posts from June, 2014

Reflections on Marriage and Clinton

Terry Gross's interview of Hillary Clinton on NPR is getting some press, because of a length exchange in which Terry Gross pressed Hillary Clinton for an answer as to whether or not she had "evolved" on the issue of same-sex marriage, or whether she had been in favor of it much longer, but didn't take a stand for political reasons.  After several exchanges, the picture emerged of an evolving perspective on Clinton's part. 

Clinton said:
Were there activists who were ahead of their time?  Well that was true in every human rights and civil rights movement, but the vast majority of Americans were just waking up to this issue and beginning to think about it, and grasp it for the first time, and think about their neighbor down the street who deserved to have the same rights as they did, or their son, or their daughter. It has been an extraordinarily fast, by historic terms social, political, and legal transformation and we ought to celebrate that instead of p…

Shadow Children and Taking a Stand

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-- Some spoilers herein -- 

My daughter's teacher told me of some books she's been reading to my daughter's class this year -- Among the Hidden and Among the Impostors from the "Shadow Children" series by Margaret Peterson Haddix.  The stories are dystopian futures for youth readers, not unlike The Hunger Games or  Divergent, but for a slightly younger audience.  In Haddix's Shadow Children books, third children are illegal in this post-famine totalitarian state.  The first two books follow the story of Luke, a third child.  In the first book, he's in hiding in his family home.  In the second, he's at a school under a fake ID. 

What struck me, when reading these books, is that the main character, Luke, fails to act.  Unlike many science fiction and fantasy books where the main character becomes the central character in the struggle for justice or freedom, Luke, at least in these two books, does not.  In the first book, he's invited by his frien…

This Religion Will Break Your Heart

It's something I learned in seminary -- I went to one of our two UU theological schools, Meadville Lombard, and attended the other one, Starr King, for one semester.  When you're at a school full of people who want to dedicate their lives to serving our religion, your heart will be broken.  Something will go wrong or toxic or just plain hurtful, and it'll hurt all the more because it happened in a place of love and trust and faith.

It happens again and again in our churches and in our ministry, for congregants and ministers both.  A congregation will behave badly as a system, and congregation members will leave, hearts broken, from pain that the institution they loved could behave so badly.  Ministers will behave badly, too, and people will leave, hearts broken.  And people will stay, hearts broken.

For ministers, we will see colleagues we know and love behave badly.  We will see a friend leave the ministry, forced out by their own misconduct, and our hearts will break.  W…

Swallowing the Rape Whistle

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Last night as I was drifting off to sleep I had a dream -- that sort of dream where you're not really completely asleep, but you're not driving the dream with your conscious mind anymore.  I dreamed I swallowed a whistle.  I jerked myself back to full consciousness, and tried falling asleep again, and it happened again.  I swallowed a whistle.  For a few minutes I couldn't shake my brain from bringing this whistle image to me again and again.


How strange as a dream it seemed, but I knew right away what it meant.  I knew, with the first dreaming moment, this wasn't just any whistle that was getting stuck in my craw.  This was a rape whistle.  And it wasn't just any rape whistle.  It was the one given to me when I went to seminary.  That was part of the introduction to Chicago, as I remember it, at Meadville Lombard: Welcome to Chicago.  You're in an area that may be more dangerous than you're used to.  Don't walk alone at night.  Here's a rape whistl…