Oh, looky. It’s January. The temps are in the singles, the wind chill is minus DO NOT WANT THAT, and I’m gathering my odds and ends to travel to Chicago again for winter intensives.
I got nothin’ left for blogging right now, folks, and will probably be sparse through the end of the month. As I used to write back in my pre-seminary days, when I’d fall off of hobby groups and mailing lists periodically, I’m not dead yet, just fell off the internet for a bit.
Behind the fold: a piece I wrote for my home congregation. This month’s theme is “Transformation.”
QUESTIONS TO CARRY (Jan 2015)
Freedom begets vision. Vision leads to change. To embrace change means welcoming someone with an open mind and responding with interest to different behavior or beliefs rather than with a raised eyebrow, frozen smile, and silence. See that reaction for what it is—a sophisticated way of masking fear. Hold that fear at bay and let your heart lead the way. Change means discomfort, and because of that discomfort, some people will leave. They have in the past and will again. Let them go. For those who remain and commit, the discomfort becomes bearable when we recognize that it is for our benefit, that transformation is its result.
Mark Morrison-Reed, from “Reaching Beyond”
QUEST, April 2012
Our world is in constant motion. Sometimes gradual change comes like a stream slowly carving a mountain gorge, or the trees that are a little taller every season. Other times a sudden storm rips trees from their roots and floods valleys, leaving a transformed landscape in its wake.
Storms rise up in the human world as well as the natural world. Although the headlines might seem remote to us, the demonstrations against systemic racism and police brutality that began last summer in Ferguson, Missouri, after the shooting of an unarmed young black man, continue in communities across the country and beyond. This is a moment when social change is fast moving, a messy middle with uncertain outcome, and we who have the luxury of time and the privilege of distance have also the responsibility to give some considered thought to the transformation of our beloved human community.
When we speak of beloved community, what do we envision? Equality? Justice? Right relationship? What does it mean to be in right relationship at all levels – within ourselves; between individuals, within family or congregation; within the wider human community in the broadest ways?
Real communities are made of real people, and what is real is also messy and imperfect. That’s not a bad thing: the gap between who we already are and who we would like to become is where we have room to grow. What are the differences between who we are now – as individuals, as a community, as people living our faith in this world – and who we would like to be? What does it mean to have growing edges?
Growth is not always easy or smooth or comfortable; the way forward through unfamiliar territory is not always obvious. What challenges or obstacles – external or internal, material or psychological – restrict our ability to grow toward our vision of our best selves? What unexamined assumptions get in our way? When we are stuck for answers, can we ask different questions?
Listen – reflect – adapt – change. Now is the beginning of whatever happens next.
(“Reaching Beyond,” by Mark Morrison-Reed can be found at http://www.questformeaning.org/quest-article/reaching-beyond/
– QUEST is an online publication by the Church of the Larger Fellowship, UU)