Read Reader Responses to UU World Ethical Eating Article

May 16, 2007

Some may remember a discussion that took place about Amy Harringer’s Ethical Eating article in the UU World a while back. Here is the original article:

And now UU World has printed a nice selection of reader responses:

If interested here are some of the posts that mention the ethical eating article:

My thoughts on it. Some follow up thoughts.

Philocrites writes on it. And Katharine does too.

Finding my UU Soul writes about the article and vegetarianism here.

And I could swear there was a post on Debitage on this topic but now I can’t find it.

So there you go.


The Phone Calls

May 16, 2007

Some of you know that I have mentored some young men (from Dayton) for the past 12 years. (Am I old enough to have done anything for 12 years? Yikes. I guess.) I should write about it in more detail sometime – the young men and their families are amazing and they have been huge joys and lights and points of learning in my life.  I love them dearly.

Anyway, one of the young men (they are in their early twenties now) and his partner are going to have a baby. And a truck was set on fire in their backyard a few weeks ago. And he has no job. And his grandpa is sick.  And… and… and…

Every time I see his name on my caller ID my stomach drops.  I can almost guarantee it is not good news or it is a call for financial help. And how much to help?  How to help? I don’t want to project all my anxieties about the dreadful state of inner-city life and racism on my young friends. Yet, it rushes over me in too many ways each time we’re in touch. I cringe at the injustice they live with every. single. day. Like a heavy rain that never stops.  They don’t notice it as much as I do because they are used to it. Strong. Numb. Whatever.

Anyway, I need to return the phone call and hope that no one is dead or arrested.  I used to say just don’t tell me anyone is dead, arrested or pregnant.  I gave up the third one.

May God be with them. With us all.

Elizabeth’s Little Blog Hits the Big Time

May 15, 2007

Well, at least by my standards. The blog and my attempts to think through vegetarian questions and UUism were mentioned by Chris Walton in “Blogs and UU World” column on the online UU World. How about that! Thanks to Chris and UU World for the mention. Go here to see the article

Christian Blogs I Like (and other musings on Christianity)

May 15, 2007

Well, I was sitting here thinking about writing a post about how I still wish sometimes that I could find a way to make Christianity work for me. There is a long history to this, and I think it is mostly a longing for tradition, for familiarity, for a personal God that is right there with you, for well-defined framework. But, honestly, that is a long post that needs more thinking, so enough on that. It does bring to mind the recent post at Arbitrary Marks that resonated with me about Unitarian Universalism and why we don’t have widespread appeal:

We’re peeling back the curtain on a magic show, explaining the tricks, and then going on with the show, asking everyone to applaud when the rabbit is pulled from the hat.

I’m not saying I do (or don’t) agree with the whole post, but I think that there is something to that statement for me, in that when the tricks of Christianity were thought out, the curtain was pulled back, I couldn’t really deal with it anymore. It had to be real-er for me. So, that is why I like Unitarian Universalism, is because we have, in a sense, said “Okay, we’re not going to pretend like we have the number one best way of doing things. We’re open to lots of different ways.” So you can still talk about Jesus but you don’t have to only talk about Jesus (which drives me nuts a Christian churches – Jesus this, Jesus that – as you can see, there is a reason that this didn’t work for me). (Can I just say I know this is not completely articulate, but this isn’t a newspaper – it is a blog – and I sometimes use it to work out thoughts.)

So I think my basic point of the musings thus far is that it works for me to explain the tricks of religion (so-to-speak) and acknowledge we don’t really actually know how it works, and that there are lots of legit paths to trying to understand how the world works, none of which we can really say is right. Various possibilities for relating to the divine… or for praying… or for personifying God…. or ways of relating to the world in a spiritual yet non-theistic way…. you get the picture.

For me, sticking with Christianity you still have to talk about Jesus like he is somehow more important than other people, or that Biblical stories are somehow more powerful or meaningful than other stories. I don’t see anyway around it. You just can’t be Christian without somehow favoring the Christian narrative. And I just can’t bring myself to do that. Yet, I can really really understand why people prefer to have that sort of framework rather that the really broad possibilities that Unitarian Universalism presents. It is harder, I think. At least for me.

Now to the starting point of this post which are two Christian blogs that I like. I am always so happy to find Christian things that don’t turn me off or make me feel weird. There is a church here in Boston called Hope Church that is one of the few Christian churches like that for me – I can go and everyone feels pretty normal, non-dogmatic, and non-annoying. I hardly ever feel like rolling my eyes or ranting. These blogs seems similar:

Going Jesus which I saw linked on Ms. Kitty’s Saloon and Road Show Maybe it was the WTFWJD tee-shirt that made me feel like this was a blog that I could relate to. (Note that recently the blog has focused on her baby. But there is other content if you go further back.)

And Real Live Preacher which I’ve seen in a few other contexts, including mentioned on Going Jesus.


May 14, 2007

Despite the fact that Joseph Ratzinger is now referred to as Pope Benedict XVI, around our house my German partner and I still call him Ratzinger. This is mostly because this is what we called him before he was the pope when he was Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. An important point, I think, is that before it was called the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith it was called Supreme Sacred Congregation of the Roman and Universal Inquisition. Inquisition. Remember that? Or rather those? Inquisitions. There was a string of them – Roman, Spanish and so on – where heretics were put to death and where people were forcibly converted to Catholicism. Luckily, the Catholic Church doesn’t burn people at the stake anymore, but Ratzinger’s former leadership of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, I think, speaks to the sort of guy he is. He is about the purity of the faith. From his perspective. He’s hardcore about keeping things they way they are – no gays, no women, no birth control, abortion and none of that wishy-washing acceptance stuff.

And, I know this is not nice to say about someone, but gosh every time I look at him I imagine that to be what the devil were to look like. If such a person existed, which I don’t actually believe in. I stress, I am not suggesting that he is the devil, but just that he looks like what I would imagine such a nasty slimy character to look like. Maybe such feelings are encouraged by statements such as the one I am pointing out below – which just confirms what a huge disappointment and upsetting person I find him to be.

He apparently said in his final speech while visiting Brazil (and several places have reported this so it must be true…it is just hard for me to believe someone who is apparently smart and well-read could say something like this) that the indigenous people living in what is now South America were “silently longing” for Christianity and had welcomed the arrival of European priests who “purified” them.

Not to be dramatic about this, but I just want to make this clear. The pope of the Catholic Church said that the people who lived in South America before the Europeans arrived were “silently longing” for Christianity, welcomed the Europeans, and were “purified” by the priests who arrived. (If anyone can find the full text of the speech, I would appreciate it. I spent 10 minutes googling it with no luck.)

As with many things JR says, I am never sure to what extent he just says things and to what extent he really believes them. Not that it matters that much, but he is supposed to be a smart, well-read guy. I guess smart people can have terrible beliefs, but if you are well-read how can you say something like that?

As Debitage points out, the next line in many of the news reports on this is just about as absurd and dreadful: “Many indigenous rights groups see the conquest as ushering in a period of disease, mass murder, enslavement and the shattering of their cultures. ” (This particular version from Tracy Wilkinson of the LA Times.) The indigenous rights groups think this? Excuse me? Don’t you mean historians? Don’t you mean “Anyone, including historians, who has looked at the evidence realizes that contrary to the Pope’s characterization, the arrival of the Europeans and their priests resulted in rape, mass murder, pillage, and enslavement. This neither purified nor fulfilled a silent longing.”

Anyway. This the post is the start of what I hope to be at least three weekly posts. I have considered that it isn’t nice to be so critical of a person many people (my grandmother, in particular, may her soul rest in peace) really like and think you shouldn’t say anything bad about. Yet, I think when popes say things like this, any respect they should get by virtue of their title or role goes out the window. I hope that Ratzinger stops being the pope very soon and someone else is elected who is less racist, imperialist, and pompous, among other things.


The Newest UU Kittens

May 10, 2007

 emma, tristen, and toby




Google Analytics for blogs?

May 10, 2007

I am not terribly knowledgeable about computers, blogging, and all of that technical stuff.  However, based on my research, it seems like people who have blogs through (as opposed to cannot use Google Analytics.  My understanding is that people have their own domains, and .com people are like this blog where it is http://name of the  If anyone knows any differently, I’d welcome your feedback.  Thanks!