Minister's Post, Fri Oct 15

Dear Ones,

Suppose I (or someone) were to tell you, "life is not personal." What sense could you make of this? You might think, "Of course, my life is personal to me. What could be more personal?"

Indeed. What could be?

Yet, I invite you this week to consider it. Turn over in your mind this idea: life is not personal. Explore what that might mean.

Ruth King writes: "Reminding myself that life is not personal, permanent, or perfect has kept me from falling into sinkholes of despair and destroying rooms with rage. It invites me to pause and turn inward."

Yours in faith,

Join a Journey Group: http://cucwp.org/journey-groups

ICYMI (In Case You Missed It)

The Oct 10 worship service, "Indigeneity," is here:

See our channel for many other past services HERE.

Covid Review

The Worldwide numbers are not reliable, and likely are greatly underestimating the actual prevalence of Covid-19. These numbers may nevertheless give us an indication of trends.

New Cases
Average New Cases per Day, worldwide:
Peak week (Apr 23-29): 828,587
Lowest since peak (Jun 15-21): 360,875
Highest since the June low (Aug 24-30): 659,633
Two weeks ago (Sep 24-30): 452,409
Last week (Oct 1-7): 421,193
This week (Oct 8-14): 403,920*
*Down 39% since Aug 30 (average decline of 1.1% per day for the last 45 days).

Average New Cases per Day, US:
Peak week (Jan 5-11): 255,889
Lowest since peak: (Jun 15-21): 11,963
Highest since the June low (Aug 27 - Sep 2): 167,107
Two weeks ago (Sep 24-30): 111,373
Last week (Oct 1-7): 99,447
This week (Oct 8-14): 86,428*
*Down 48% since Sep 2 (average decline of 1.6% per day for the last 42 days).

Average New Cases per Day, Westchester County, NY:
Highest week of 2020 (Mar 23-29): 949
Lowest week, post-peak, of 2020 (Aug 19-25): 29
Highest week of 2021 (Jan 6-12): 861
Lowest week of 2021 (Jun 17-23): 11
Highest since Jun low (Aug 15-21): 212
Two weeks ago (Sep 24-30): 114
Last week (Oct 1-7): 100
This week (Oct 8-14): 95*
*Down 55% since Aug 21 (average decline of 1.5% per day for the last 54 days).

Average Deaths per Day, worldwide:
Peak week (Jan 20-26): 14,818
Lowest since peak (Jun 29 - Jul 5): 7,694
Highest since the July low (Aug 19-25): 10,271
Two weeks ago (Sep 24-30): 7,659
Last week (Oct 1-7): 7,013
This week (Oct 8-14): 6,545*
*Down 36% since Aug 25 (average decline of 0.9% per day for the last 50 days).

Average Deaths per Day, US:
Peak week (Jan 7-13): 3,524
Lowest since peak (Jul 1-7): 248
Highest since the July low (Sep 17-23): 1,961
Two weeks ago (Sep 24-30): 1,819
Last week (Oct 1-7): 1,637
This week (Oct 8-14): 1,369*
*Down 30% since Sep 23 (average decline of 1.7% per day for the last 21 days).

Average Deaths per Day, Westchester County, NY:
Highest week of 2020 (Apr 9-15): 52
Lowest week, post-peak, of 2020 (Sep 27 - Oct 3): 0.0
Highest week of 2021 (Jan 28 - Feb 3): 11
Lowest week of 2021 (Jul 21-27): 0.0
Highest since the July low (Sep 10-16): 1.3
Two weeks ago (Sep 24-30): 0.6
Last week (Oct 1-7): 0.9
This week (Oct 8-14): 0.0

While the Westchester new cases per day shows an average decline of 1.5% per day over the last 54 days, the decline has essentially stalled since Oct 3: for the first 43 days (Aug 21 to Oct 3) the decline averaged 1.7% per day, and for the last 11 days it's has been pretty flat -- wobbling between 103.7 and 95.1 average new cases per day. The good news in Westchester is that there hasn't been a Covid death in the county since Oct 5.

The US vaccination continues to slowly climb. As of Oct 14, 57.1% of the US population is fully vaccinated -- a number that is growing now at the rate of 1 percentage point every 13 days (at last reporting, the vaccination rate was growing at the rate of 1 percentage point every 10 days, so it's slowing a bit).

Meanwhile, the Westchester County fully-vaccinated rate is 69.0% (Oct 13) -- which represents an increase of 1 percentage point in the last 12 days.

The news this week continues to be relatively good. Let's hope it continues -- and be careful out there!

Practice of the Week

Problems of Progress

This week we have an Ecospiritual practice, sponsored by Community UU’s Environmental Practices Social Justice Team. The practice is to explore the issue we could call: “The Problems of Progress.” Adapted from Rebecca James Hecking. Practices include:

1. Give and Take. Cultivating the mindset that taking requires giving. Choose one aspect of your life where you take from the Earth’s bounty. Your food, perhaps. Or your electricity, which might come from coal. Or maybe you simply collect pretty rocks from the beach. Big or small, make a pact with yourself. Write it down and post it somewhere prominent to serve as a reminder. For your chosen area, each take with require a give. If you are a beach pebble collector, you could also spend some time picking up liter on that same beach. If you choose food, you could volunteer at a soup kitchen or organize some friends to purchase fair trade coffee as a group.

2. Technology Fast. Choose one device your grandma didn’t grow up with and turn it off for a week. This could be your TV, radio, computer, GPS system, or any other piece of technology that occupies a significant place in your life. On Sunday, ceremonially turn it off. Throughout the week, journal about the experience.

3. Journaling: Exploring Feelings about Modern Life. Choose one of the starter phrases below and begin writing. Write continuously for at least ten minutes, allowing your thoughts to flow where they will. Start in on another starter phrase whenever you need to in order to keep the pen moving for ten minutes.
  • If I had been alive three hundred years ago, my life . . .
  • I like modern life, but . . .
  • The Earth provides . . .
  • If I had a time machine, and could go anywhere with it, I would . . .

Group Activities

Elder Wisdom. Invite several people who are more than eighty years old to share their life experiences with the group. Ask them: What has changed since you were children? What things are better now? What was better then? What do you see as the most significant area of human progress? What problems do you see for the future? What sort of world would you wish for future generations?

Questions for Group Conversation:
  • What are some of the negative aspects of technology? Can their effects be mitigated?
  • Identify one or two examples superfluous or wasteful technology. What can be done about this waste?
  • What criteria should we use to decide how much technology to allow into our lives? How can we approach technological progress in a mindful way?
  • What must you personally unlearn to approach technology sustainably?


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