Learn from your Elders

I have googled long and hard but still not been able to find an online copy of William Ellery Channing's "The Father's Love for Persons" that I could copy and paste for wizdum.net's online library. So, out of desperation, I've begun transcribing from paper to kilobytes. (If you knew how poorly I type you would understand how big a commitment this is.) Which means that I'm rereading Channing's essay rather thoroughly.

I've also been feeling pretty self-satisfied lately about my growing realization of the true depth of our Seventh Principle, how it is the basis for the First, and feeling that it is my interest in and knowledge of Buddhism that has helped guide me to these realizations. And then I read Channing...

What Pat Buchanan says about VA Tech

Almost no attention has been paid to the fact that Cho Seung-Hui was not an American at all, but an immigrant, an alien. ...

Cho was among the 864,000 Koreans here as a result of the Immigration Act of 1965, which threw the nation's doors open to the greatest invasion in history, an invasion opposed by a majority of our people.

(Bold emphasis mine. For the full text, click here.)

My blood ran cold reading this. I felt a fear that I have not felt since childhood when I used to get pushed around and told to "Go back to where you came from." In vain I tried to explain that I was born here and therefore could not "go back" to anywhere else. For a brief while I was convinced that the undeniable power of my logic would persuade them. But it made no difference whatsoever.

This is why I love UU

As most of you know, the Bush administration has somehow tied the attacks on 9/11 to illegal immigration coming from Central and South America. Citing "security risks" they are building a wall along the Texas/Mexico border and cracking down on illegal immigrants in cities across this country in the most unnecessarily harsh and inhumane ways. Of particular concern is the administration's propensity to break-up families, arresting and deporting parents while their American-born children are in school. These hypocritical measures fail to recognize that these immigrants of questionable legal status are the backbone of our economy, doing jobs that the rest of us do not want to do for wages that we would not deem acceptable. In times of uncertainty, let us scapegoat those who least have the power to defend themselves.

Happy Mothers Day

Happy Mothers Day. (Thanks Ma!!)  And while you're celebrating the strong sustaining women in your life, give a nod to Julia Ward Howe, the creator of "Mother's Day" (without the Hallmark commercialism), suffragist, abolitionist, and the author of The Battle Hymn of the Republic.  I'm not a huge fan of the old battle hymn, but I gotta admit that Ms. Howe was a talented, strong woman.

And a Unitarian!

Liberation from Racism

Since I've been co-facilitating a class on liberation theology at church, it's been on my mind a lot these days.  And since it's been on my mind already, we decided to do a theological reflection on it in the office today.  While going over some historical background and explaining liberation hermeneutics, the main thrust of my presentation was the difference between liberal theology and liberation theology.  To illustrate the difference, we looked at the concept of sin.

In traditional Christian theology, sin is going against God's will.  God defines what is right, and therefore going against God is always wrong.

We all agreed that liberals have difficulty with the concept of sin, with many rejecting it outright.  But if we were to formulate one, Adam came up with one that was both an accurate assessment of the liberal/UU framework, and the perfect foil for the liberation conception of sin. "Sin is going against my own conscience."

In Need of Grace

Maybe it's because I came back from my trip to Ithaca exhausted.  After a day of traveling by car and bus and finally metro train, I went directly to church for the last session of Theologies of Liberation.  Maybe it's because I myself am in need of Grace, but the most compelling thing that I remember from the participants' discussions is the feeling of being overwhelmed by the enormity of what is wrong in this world and our complicity.

For those who benefit from systems of oppression, sin is to contribute to the maintenance of these systems both actively and complicitly. For those who suffer under systems of oppression, sin is to accept this without resistance.

I have sinned.  We all have.  And despite our best intentions we will continue to do so.  We realized in that room that we are all in need of Grace.  And someone asked what Grace is.

Battle Hymn of the Republic - Redux

In doing a little research on The Battle Hymn of the Republic (originally written by Unitarian Julia Ward Howe as a Union rallying cry for the Civil War), I discovered that Mark Twain wrote a parody of sorts in 1901 in response to American imperialism in the Philippines. I like his version better:

The Battle Hymn of the Republic (Brought Down to Date)

Mine eyes have seen the orgy of the launching of the Sword;
He is searching out the hoardings where the stranger's wealth is stored;
He hath loosed his fateful lightnings, and with woe and death has scored;
His lust is marching on.

I have seen him in the watch-fires of a hundred circling camps;
They have builded him an altar in the Eastern dews and damps;
I have read his doomful mission by the dim and flaring lamps—
His night is marching on.


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