First and foremost, this blog is a forum in which members of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Asheville are encouraged to explore our own relationship with social justice. And so I thought a good beginning place might be to look at the words we have chosen to describe our community’s mission.
Our congregation’s mission statement says, “As a Unitarian Universalist faith community, we nurture individual search for meaning and work together for freedom, justice and love.”
There are three key concepts in this statement:
We are a faith community.
We are committed to nurturing the individual.
We are committed to working together in service to a larger cause.
As a faith community, we have a very particular perspective – we have chosen to gather together to explore the sacred, to engage with that which is greater than all of us. Perhaps we find that participating in a community is what gives us a sense of something greater than the individual. Perhaps we experience a divine presence. Perhaps we find our perspective in the awesomeness of the natural world.
Regardless of the sources of our inspiration, we gather together in community and seek to be inspired, comforted and transformed. Part of our work is to use that experience of inspiration and transformation to inform the way we live our lives.
In our work for justice, we must begin with the individual journey – we must each attempt to understand and articulate the reasons for our commitment to this community and find the courage to engage in our own spiritual journey. In order to be fully engaged, we must be willing to be changed in our hearts—touched in the deepest parts of ourselves.
Why do you work for justice?
I work for justice because I am called to speak my mind, to speak truth to power, to witness to the truth of what I have come to believe about life on this earth:
That among human beings, the overall trend is to the good.
That we are held gently in the embrace of a love that will not let us go.
That it is our holy work to envision and create a just and equitable world.
My own spiritual journey has been nurtured by Unitarian Universalist communities across the country and have come to a sense of groundedness in our historical tradition and commitment to service and leadership within that tradition. I am inspired by the words of James Luther Adams, who said, “The faith of a church… is an adequate faith only when it inspires and enables people to give of their time and energy to shape the various institutions… of the common life.”
How does your faith inform your work for justice?
[this post is an excerpt from a recent sermon, “The Shape of Justice,” by Rev. Lisa Bovee Kemper]