Harnessing Love’s Power
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Day 1: The Thirty Days of Love starts today

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Jan 18, 2014

Today is Day 1 of the Thirty Days of Love. Today’s action is to begin with the Thirty Days of Love by journaling. Write in your journal your response to: Why are we trying to be multicultural? Click here for resources, family actions, and more! Click here to sign up for the daily Thirty Days of Love emails.

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Today marks the start of our third annual Thirty Days of Love campaign. The first weekly theme is Living the Dream, where we will explore the intersections of civil rights, voter suppression, the New Jim Crow, and what we must do to build multicultural communities and congregations.

Let us begin with a question: Why are we trying to be multicultural?

This was a question emailed to me by a board member of a UU Congregation who was highly desirous of moving into the multicultural future. It is a question that every congregation that thinks it wants to become a multicultural community wrestles with and can only answer for themselves. It’s a question that Rev. Dr. Miguel De La Torre asked during last year’s Mosaic Maker’s conference.

It is also a question that I and the Multicultural Growth & Witness staff group I lead wrestle with constantly along with “how” do we become an anti-oppressive/multicultural faith community? We try to answer it with curriculum like Building the World We Dream About. With conferences like Mosaic Makers: Leading Vital Multicultural Congregations. With workshops, consultations, coaching, leadership development, and learning communities. With integrating the multicultural work we do with our social justice work, through initiatives like Thirty Days of  Love.

Here’s what I think. Our UU community cannot claim to promote the inherent worth and dignity of every person and remain moncultures. Navigating differences of class, race, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, ability, and religion test and challenge us to live every one of the seven principles. The only way to know if we are truly inclusive, welcoming, justice-centered, and compassionate is by how well we engage with people who are different – not just in our sanctuaries but in the larger community.

Leaders of long-time multicultural churches say that this is not a journey for the faint of heart. It involves risk and sacrifice. And it takes time.

Multiculturalism is more than programs. It is an ethos – values – the test of “are we who we say we are?” – in every aspect of our community. From welcome to worship, membership to leadership, fellowship hour to life-long faith development, socializing to social justice, multiculturalism is what we do in and beyond the walls of the congregations.

There is a great urgency to answer the call to transform our churches and move us into the multicultural future:

  1. Income inequality in the United States and the inequitable distribution of the necessities of life make the goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all a sham.
  2. Voter suppression severely compromises the right of conscience and use of the democratic process in our states and our nation.
  3. Poor education, segregated schools and efforts to push multicultural education out of public classrooms diminish the free and responsible search for truth and meaning.
  4. Barriers of race and class compromise our capacity for justice, equity and compassion in human relations – because difference challenges us in ways we cannot predict.
  5. Fundamentalism makes acceptance of one another and encouragement to spiritual growth impossible.
  6. Food deserts, the dumping of waste in poor communities, and the lack of access to quality health care is disrespect for the interdependent web of existence of which we are all a part.
  7. Mass incarceration, mass deportation, and “stand your ground laws” mock our value of the inherent worth and dignity of every person. They criminalize poverty, race, and often times our country’s youth and young adults.

Multicultural community makes it harder to marginalize, exclude and oppress people who don’t share our identities. Multicultural relationships also call us to be more active in seeking justice for all people

 

Laila Ibrahim tells us in the Bless the Imperfect:

“Again and again, we are called to choose to commit ourselves to building a more just, more diverse, and yet ever messy and imperfect beloved community.”

 

May we be the people so bold by answering the calls of the marginalized, the excluded, and the oppressed that all people may be welcomed as blessings and the human family lives whole and reconciled.

 

Now it’s your turn to build the world you dream about. Journey with us, together during the Thirty Days of LoveLet this be a starting point or an opportunity to re-commit to our shared racial justice work.

 

Amen, Ache, Blessed Be, Shalom, May it Be So,

 

 

 

 

 

Taqueina Boston

Director, Multicultural Growth and Witness

Unitarian Universalist Association

 

P.S. – If you would like to read more of Taquiena’s sermon from the First Unitarian Church of Pittsburgh, check it out here.

5 Responses to “Day 1: The Thirty Days of Love starts today”

  1. Zena Tucker says:

    May it be so. Thank you!

  2. Carrie Stewart says:

    Yes.
    My UU raised and public HS educated son says he ‘hates culture’ because ‘it is the source if all conflict’. As you say , Taquiena, how can we be the people to embrace the messiness of clashing values, tastes, behaviors, needs, preferences – and make love more important in ourselves so we can fulfill our first principle.

  3. Diane Evans says:

    Coming from a different perspective which is as s descendant of American slavery whose males have inherited lives of deprivation causing incarceration and whose masses have inherited poverty, I look at the ways I can authentically connect with the souls of other people who do not share this social leprosy yet hold in place the culture and institutions that created it. I build an internal spiritual callus so that their cultural rejection bounce off my soul like rubber arrows. It is not enough that you display African American artifacts or play jazz. Our method of doing things must be included in the way you do things. For example I do not want to be a trumpeter in your orchestra. I want us to be trumpeters improvising in your orchestra and you playing with the dictates of your musical genera. The new Soulfulness finds the beautiful blending point of spontaneity with the pre-planned, each remaining the same but creating the new by finding their harmonic points through their differences.

  4. Susan Leslie says:

    Thank you Taquiena! This is a beautiful and powerful call. As my congregation at First Parish Cambridge MA UU has become more multicultural in our worship and welcome and in our justice organizing we have become a more multicultural in our membership and friends and we are more alive and vibrant community! You don’t always know what to expect when you come to our services – and that’s a good thing!

  5. Yuri Yamamoto says:

    Dear Taquiena,
    Thank you for so eloquently answer this question. I wrestled with the question for a long time and could not come up with anything but a selfish answer–as a minority person, I feel much better and feel freer to be authentic in a multicultural environment. In other words, it is hard to be constantly standing out by the appearance, behavior, accents, ideas, etc. I unconsciously cover for the majority, and it can take a toll.

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