I have to confess to envy. I am in awe of anyone able to converse in more than their first language. I have studied six languages but I can’t order fish and chips in any of them, granted two of them are dead biblical languages, ancient Hebrew and Greek, now replaced by modern versions. While I do have a passing ability to read and write in several of them, it might be reasonable to ask why I have bothered.
The most satisfying reason is they reveal a world view and culture that would be closed off to me otherwise.
Living on an archipelago at the bottom of the South Pacific, the human incarnation of the kiwi, a flightless bird, has evolved into an intrepid traveller eager to fly everywhere and anywhere around the globe. To be suddenly grounded by a virus and having to spend all our time in what Trump labelled a hellhole has inspired our sense of humour to cope with our harsh conditions of incarceration. Checkout #NZhellhole on Twitter to take solace in the many ways to mock Trump with tongue-firmly-implanted-in-cheek examples of how awful it is to be so confined. We laugh but it goes against our basic nature not to travel, explore, learn, and expand our understanding of being human on a fragile planet. It explains our resorting to black humour. One of my favourites is a listing of airport codes we can travel to during the pandemic on Facebook. Instead of CDG for Paris’ Charles de Gaulle Airport, we have DNG for the dining room. Instead of LHR for London’s Heathrow, we have BKY for the backyard. My personal favourite is MNC for mancave.
Unitarians have a class problem. We don’t talk about it.
While the problem requires an extended conversation, my musing today is only intended to put a crack in the wall of silence. You might ask, “Why can’t I leave well enough alone? Don’t we have enough on our plate supporting the Black Lives Matter movement, welcoming the LGBTQI community, promoting Women’s Rights, challenging neoliberalism, demanding a Living Wage, protecting the environment, protesting the treatment of immigrants of colour and migrant labourers, nurturing progressive religious thought, safeguarding democracy, imagining a peaceful world, and building a Beloved Community?”
We all have buttons that can be pushed. When my mother’s Alzheimer’s had reached the stage where she no longer knew who I was, I teased her, “Why haven’t you forgotten how to push my buttons?” I’m not sure what happened but she had a moment when all her synapses were functioning normally. She smiled as she explained, “Because I installed them.”
A combined Australia and New Zealand UU Sunday service with a follow-on discussion by Zoom.
As we can’t have an ANZUUA combined physical gathering this year, this is an opportunity to connect with other UUs … All UUs in AsiaPacific or elsewhere regularly associated with us are welcome to join us for the service. It will be a chance to get to know each other and savour all the flavours of Unitarian Universalism in our region.
The service will be hosted by our minister, Clay Nelson, the President of ANZUUA. The service will include contributions from multiple Australia and NZ UU groups. Clay will give the talk.
From the moment of our birth we are introduced to the distress of disconnection and the comfort of connection. We may not remember the cutting of the cord and the first time we were held to breast, but they were momentous. If our lives were a symphony, these were the overture. The motif of disconnection and connection has been embedded in who we are and repeated over and over again, albeit with many variations, ever since.