Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Bad Days and Hard Times

Are bad days and hard times coming? or are they already here?
the pundits are talking about recession and depression - the folks who remember the last Great Depression are now mostly deceased - it's been that long. Indeed we as a society no longer remember or agree on the lessons learned from then... Is it don't have debt or don't have frivolous debt? pay down your debt or save for retirement? or is it too late for that? There are already places with long lines waiting for gasoline...
Today I spent four hours dealing with an out-of-control barely teenage child. There was sex, drugs, dysfuctional families, knives, blood, death, - and manipulation that seems to work very well. There were hospitals that didn't want to bother, and hospitals that were out of beds.
Across the parking lot is a small park, across that is a store - where the owner was murdered yesterday evening. Rumors are that he was killed for fertilizer. Now you can do more than plant roses with fertilizer, but still, killed for fertrilizer....

Our lives are filled with bad days and hard times - because bad days and hard times are part of life. None of us will live forever in perfect health and perfect joy. We can however strive for that joy, despite the bad and the hard. We can smile and sing yet. Indeed that is some of our call - to help those find the joy and to help find that anchor in life's storms . As the song (in the UU Hymnal and other sources) goes: "My life flows on in endless song above earth's lamentation. I hear the real through far off hymn that hails a new creation. Through all the tumult and the strife I hear the music ringing. It sounds and echoes in my soul. How can I keep from singing?" When your bad times hit you, look around for the singer and the music.

Friday, September 12, 2008

the Problem of UU Cultural Misappropriation.

One of the big UU bloging topics this week is cultural misappropriation, and more exactly the use of that term in the upcoming revision of the UU “Principles and Purposes”.
The idea is one of those things that sounds good on the surface, but may not be. Because where will the line be drawn and who draws it?
Let me give an example from the other week. Person A was talking about a Native American cultural item that they were using that just wasnt what it used to be.... Person B jumped in all upset about cultural misappropriation of the item and chewed the Person A out. The major problem was that the item was given to Person A by a close family member, who was Native American. Is this cultural misappropriation or not?
This issue was brought up first by Rev James Ford - who questioned if the entire UU Buddhist community might be alleged by some to be guilty of cultural misappropriation. I've been to a Passover Seder, invited by a giyoret. Am I guilty of cultural misappropriation for accepting the invitation? In the UU hymnal, we have changed wordings from the original of certain songs - aren't all of those hymns cultural misappropriation? Since many of our Congregations are not Christian, can we sing Christian hymns without it being cultural misappropiation? One worried blogger even wondered if this whole thing was an attempt to force the UUA back to its old vision of Unitarian and Universalist Christians. - because that is the UUA's heritage.
The other worry with this whole thing, is that like most of the rest of the proposed P&P, it's full of legalize and academic speak. While the whole thing might be to force UUs not to treat it as a creed, what if they do? Do we want to affirm our Anti-Cultural Misappropriation every Sunday (assuming we could still meet on Sunday that is )?
Rev Ford nicely suggest a change of wordage to what is essentially "be sensitive". This is something that I could affirm, something that sends a positive message rather than a negative message. As for the whole idea of cultural misappropriation: we can simply remember that "if you dont know what you're talking about: dont ."