Twenty years ago, when I was just setting off on the path of Unitarian Universalist ministry, Julian Bond was a speaker at General Assembly. As I recall, he said something like this: “babies are being thrown in the river and if you’re not willing to go there and stop whoever is doing that, you’re not fit to call yourself a minister.”
While those around me stood and cheered I wept…because I knew that resistance to evil and injustice and suffering takes so many more forms than is ever acknowledged or generally made known. My mind raced: “What about visioning and teaching and healing as forms of resistance? What about legislative work? What about emotional support work and art and poetry and food and deep rest?”
Lifting up only one valid form of resistance, one expression of faith, seemed contrary to the Unitarian Universalist commitment to honor the diverse gifts we bring to one another. It certainly would exclude me, because I already knew I’m not cut out for prophetic “front lines” activism. At least not in a sustainable way.
The fact is too many of us struggle to honor the fullness of who we are as individuals as we engage with the needs around us. While we may be guided by our values and strengths, external pressures may cause us to neglect our own needs and preferences. And that’s when we end up worn out.
In resisting one evil we may find ourselves submitting to and suffering from another.
This month’s Soul Matters theme, RESISTANCE, provides some powerful opportunities for self-reflection and conversation. I encourage you to consider and share your responses to the following questions, exploring deeper understandings of what meaningful and sustainable resistance can look like.
Who are you: 1. what are your values and commitments, 2. your strengths and skills, and 3. your needs and preferences?
What do you recognize as needing resistance?
When and how is your resistance expressed?
What effects is that resistance having externally, and on you personally?
What alternative forms of resistance energize you and bring you joy?
The April 2nd Sharing Circle will be a great opportunity to further explore this theme. All are welcome. Childcare will be provided. As always, please do reach out to the Pastoral Care Team if you are in need of practical support or would welcome a pastoral visit.
In Awe & Gratitude,