Nagoonberry

This world. This place. This life.


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Omnipresence and social media

connectionsEmerging from my reading this week is this: in a social media world, power depends on being everywhere, and being in each place well.

That’s a daunting thought.

What it means for individuals is that if we have a message to share, we have to learn multiple platforms, never resting, never believing that we’ve mastered enough social media tools. It means developing insatiable curiosity and deep humility. A new-to-me blogger wrote this:

I suspect the unnerving truth is that the trade-off for the benefits of an unfathomably complex technological society is the disquieting reality that understanding is now beyond the reach of any intellectual, public or otherwise. (The Frailest Thing, February 16)

The picture is less grim on an organizational level. If we join together with others who share our values, and each of us learns continuously, our skills form a massive Venn diagram, overlapping here, stretching into new territory there.

But only if we work together.

I pour most of my thinking energy into Unitarian Universalism, which has a streak of individualism a mile wide and centuries deep. We have a newer commitment, to “the interdependent web of which we are a part.”

We want to share our message—our saving message. Much will depend on our learning to work together.

Photo by fla m, used under a Creative Commons Attribution license.


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The sawdust in your eye

Today’s Daily Prompt asks, “Which vice or bad habit can you simply not abide in others?”

My first reaction was, “Oh, I can’t possibly write about that.”

I can’t possibly go on a rant about what drives me crazy about other people.

That’s not nice. And there’s the “people who live in glass houses” problem. Also known as the log in my own eye problem.

But the more I thought about it, the more I felt like it might be fun to just let my inner curmudgeon loose.

So, without further ado, here’s the sawdust in your eye:

  • Loose dogs and their humans. It’s OK if you’re nearby. But leaving your dog out to roam the town all day and all night? Drives me batty.
  • Don’t get me started on people who feed loose dogs, habituating them to the places where I’m trying to walk Brady, while also carrying Willa.
  • While we’re talking about dogs, how about people who don’t pick up after their pets? I picked up dog poop when I was 9 months pregnant, and I still do when I’ve got twenty pounds of baby strapped to my chest. And you can’t bend over and scoop the poop?
  • Drunk people in general, but specifically the loud ones who walk past our windows at 2 a.m. when the bars close. Sometimes it’s really tiresome living in a drinking village with a skiing problem.

And that’s where I’ll stop, for now.

Because as I was writing the list, I realized that there was only so much I felt comfortable writing about publicly. General complaints, about people I don’t know, felt safe. But being specific? Talking about things that really bother me? That’s harder.

I had a really hard day on Monday, because I’ve been (as I tweeted) “Too long downwind of other people’s garbage; too long downstream of other people’s shit.”

But I can’t write the back story of that here. That’s the work of living in relationship, the work of neighborliness, the work of forgiveness balanced with the work of speaking my mind.

Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.

Do not judge, and you will not be judged; do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven; give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap; for the measure you give will be the measure you get back. . . .

Why do you see the speck in your neighbor’s eye, but do not notice the log in your own eye? Or how can you say to your neighbor, “Friend, let me take out the speck in your eye”, when you yourself do not see the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your neighbor’s eye. (Luke 6:36-38, 41-42)


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Zero to Hero, Day 13: Blogroll

Today’s Zero to Hero assignment is to build a better blogroll. I did some of that when I played with widgets and themes. The new theme’s right columns looked really cluttered (still does, a bit), so I created a page, just for links. I also trimmed the links list down to size.

The big news is that I’m thinking about creating a guide to UU blogs; my Feedly list of UU blogs is nearing 400, and people often ask who I follow.

The great Philocrites used to maintain a Guide to Unitarian Universalist Blogs, and UUpdates is a great place to follow most of the UU blogosphere. I’m hoping to recreate something like Philocrites’ list—clustered into types of blogs, with a short description of each one.

Don’t hold your breath, though. Most of my writing these days happens while Willa naps, or late at night.


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Finding courage

Yesterday’s Zero to Hero assignment was to comment on three blogs; today’s assignment is to write a blog post based on one of those comments.

I’m still thinking about “Michael Sam’s Necessary Moment,” written by Holly Anderson on Grantland.  I keep thinking about this:

“Telling the world I’m gay is nothing,” Sam said, . . . comparing coming out to harrowing moments he experienced growing up—more moments of heartbreak than any one human being should have to shoulder.

I commented, “So often people find courage to do something daunting by having faced far worse.”

Since then I’ve been thinking about the hard things I’ve done that give me courage—and strength—to continue to make difficult but necessary choices.

Here are the highlights of my list:

  • Coming out to myself, and to my family
  • Becoming a minister—when I was raised to believe clergy were wrong, as were women in church leadership
  • Making the long journey from my childhood faith to life as a non-theist Unitarian Universalist
  • Moving to Alaska, and living here for almost nine years (and counting)
  • Choosing to recommit to ministry, and completing the long process of transferring from the Presbyterian Church (USA) to the UUA
  • Giving birth to my first child, at age 42, without pain meds

Liesl and I have hard choices to make. Where do we want to live? What kind of work are we looking for? Does Liesl want to stay in aviation? What kind of ministry do I feel called to? And how do we factor Willa’s wellbeing into where we live and what we do for work?

It’s daunting to think about pulling up stakes and starting over. But it helps to remember what we’ve already done.


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We’re in a stretch with Zero to Hero where the tasks don’t generate posts. If you look closely, you’ll see a few changes here—a shorter “About” page (with more coming), links moved to their own page, new widgets, the new Yoko theme, etc. Lots of growing and learning growing happening behind the scenes!

Again, many thanks to Christine Slocum for her leadership.