We can no longer be silent

Here is a link to a very powerful article in which a white woman explains what white privilege is and how she will use her power and her privilege to dismantle white privilege:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/amanda-redhead/i-am-a-white-mother-deman_b_10867410.html

A quote from the article:

What I am realizing today is that I can no longer be silent. The ideas that have kept me silent are ideas of separation and to eradicate the horrors of what are happening today, we must all stand together.

As Unitarian Universalists and all those aligned with our values, including the inherent worth and dignity of every person, how will we stand together?  How will we use our privilege and power to dismantle white privilege and bring an end to the deaths of black people in this country?

We can no longer be silent

When someone says “all lives matter” show them this!

Here is an article that demonstrates why saying “All lives matter” is an act of dismissing black lives.  So, as the article says, the next time someone says “all lives matter” in response to “black lives matter” show them these five paragraphs.

http://fusion.net/story/170591/the-next-time-someone-says-all-lives-matter-show-them-these-5-paragraphs/?utm_source=facebook

When someone says “all lives matter” show them this!

America’s Third Reconstruction

This second UUA Thirty Days of Love: Towards Racial Justice message talks about the profound and important work of the North Carolina NAACP and the book The Third Reconstruction: Moral Mondays, Fusion Politics and the Rise of the New Justice Movement by Rev. Dr. William J. Barber and Jonathan Wilson-Hargrove.  The article offers 14 concrete action steps to mobilize and do this work.

http://www.standingonthesideoflove.org/ourstories/fourteen-steps-forward-together-for-americas-third-reconstruction

The Beacon Press website says that:  “At a time when divide-and-conquer politics are exacerbating racial strife and economic inequality, Rev. Barber offers an impassioned, historically grounded argument that Moral Mondays are hard evidence of an embryonic Third Reconstruction in America.  The first Reconstruction briefly flourished after Emancipation, and the second Reconstruction ushered in meaningful progress in the civil rights era. But both were met by ferocious reactionary measures that severely curtailed, and in many cases rolled back, racial and economic progress. This Third Reconstruction is a profoundly moral awakening of justice-loving people united in a fusion coalition powerful enough to reclaim the possibility of democracy—even in the face of corporate-financed extremism.” 

http://www.beacon.org/The-Third-Reconstruction-P1139.aspx

It is time for the Third Reconstruction of America.  What will we as Unitarian Universalists do to help to bring it about?

 

America’s Third Reconstruction

Can we ever truly be the missional church I imagine?

In an article about Unitarian Universalism, Peter Boullata argues that we lack a theology that grounds us.  This lack of theology makes us nothing more than a “Rotary Club for religiously inclined political liberals”.  Have we dropped theology in favor of social action?  I disagree with him, believing instead that our theology is deeply grounded in the reality that we are all one (Unitarianism) and that we are all loved; no one is beyond Love itself (Universalism).

“Religious liberals, both within our movement and beyond it, dropped theology in favor of social action in the twentieth century. We are compelled to do social justice work, but we have little or no understanding of why this is religious. To base whole congregations around this kind of mission work without a clearly articulated theology is to reinvent the Rotary Club for religiously inclined political liberals. And a clearly articulated theology of social ministry is not possible as long as “theology” is whatever individuals happen to believe, think, or feel at any given moment.

Inasmuch as Unitarian Universalist communities continue to neglect discernment, theology, discipline, spiritual practice, faith formation, vocation and engagement with our historic testimonies and tradition, we will never be a missional religious movement. As long as we are known as the church of individual seekers we will never have the kind of impact that a missional religion has on transforming the world. It should go without saying that the chronically self-involved have no interest in serving the needs of others.”

Here’s a link to his article:

http://peterboullata.com/2011/12/29/the-liberal-church-finding-its-mission-its-not-about-you/

Why can’t we be a church of individual seekers who are brought together by the theological reality that we are all one and all are loved, no matter the lens through which we understand these two great truths?

 

Can we ever truly be the missional church I imagine?

When will it stop?

My heart hurts today as I read of yet another mass shooting, this one in San Bernadino, California.   My colleague Jake Morrill wrote in a facebook post that:

“The Washington Post says that, as of today, the 336th day of the year, there have been 355 mass shootings (at least 4 people shot) in 2015. San Bernadino was the second mass shooting today, since we got up this morning. A California colleague was using Facebook to update people in San Bernadino where the active shooters had last been spotted, and to relay safety messages–it was chilling to read. Mass shootings are an epidemic, a public health crisis. But I’m not sure we’ll do much about it. Even efforts to fund research, to learn more, are defeated in Congress. So maybe ministry in 2015 looks like trying to tell people where we think they might be less likely to end up getting shot.”

Is that what it has come down to?  Telling people where they will be safer because our government lacks the decency and the courage to enact gun control laws?

This article makes my heart ache even more:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/to-your-health/wp/2015/12/02/hours-before-san-bernardino-mass-shooting-doctors-were-on-capitol-hill-petitioning-congress-to-lift-ban-on-gun-violence-research/

When will the insanity stop?  How many more innocent lives will be lost before we come to our senses and enact gun control laws?

When will it stop?

Support for Muslims

A member of our congregation submitted this question:

How can we as a congregation be supportive to Muslims and other middle easterners in our community in this ridiculous climate of suspicion and hatred?

In the case of Muslims, I think the best way to start is to educate ourselves about Islam so that we can speak knowledgeably and compassionately in a situation where others are expressing their fear, suspicion and hatred.  This past Sunday afternoon the Press Citizen reports that about 100 people gathered in the Public Library to hear Imam Molhim Bilal explain that Islam is a religion of peace.  You can read the article here:

http://www.press-citizen.com/story/news/2015/11/29/terrorism-not-part-islam-iowa-city-imam-says/76536272/

Imam Bilal said that: “The definition of terrorism does not include Islam, nor does it include Christianity or Judaism or Buddhism.  Groups that carry out attacks in the name of Islam are twisting passages of the Quran and taking them out of context.  ”  He also pointed out that: “Muslim countries like Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Egypt and Jordan are fighting back against terrorism, both on their own and in collaboration with other countries like the United States.”  He also said that: “”The best way to fight stereotyping against Muslims is to talk about it and spread what Islam is.”

We can also take time to reflect on our own biases and prejudices towards anyone, seek to understand where these feelings may come from, and do the spiritual work of opening our minds and hearts so that we can truly live out our first UU principle, which affirms the inherent worth and dignity of every person.

Support for Muslims