Where Is My Church?

I left my faith two years ago.  Before that time I was very committed to the faith of my birth, Unitarian Universalism.  Ever since my children were born I served my church in various roles: teacher, membership chair, governing board member and past president, personnel committee chair, leadership facilitator, and docent of its historic site.

Unitarian Universalism is described as a liberal religion characterized by a “free and responsible search for truth and meaning”, open to all persons, and without a creed.  Long before gay marriage became legal, we affirmed this right of passage and performed many of these unions. Born out of the Judeo-Christian traditions, the faith now preaches that Love is their doctrine.

I have come to see that my church has lost its way during this time of racial upheaval and that it is trapped in today’s climate of identity politics.  It started after the 2017 presidential election when the Unitarian Universalist Association began to promote the “Resistance”.   During that time the Faith in Action Committee became heavily focused on social justice issues like the Black Lives Matter movement and White Privilege re-education.  Now they march for the Poor People’s Campaign, everyone’s right for employment, and sustainable living wages.

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The members of Unitarian Universalism have a long tradition of being inclusive and justice seeking which aligns well with the faith’s democratic governance structure.  This method of “doing church” helped me to ground myself in governance models that are inclusive and sensitive to just action.  These models I easily applied to my role as a city councilor, and I was able to create needed change in my community of diverse hearts and minds.  However, “doing church” and “creating communities of justice” is not the same as “worship”.

Worship is the feeling and expression of reverence for a deity.  One should not worship money, a privilege, or a social cause in place of God…this will cause emotional suffering when one comes to understand that the object replacing the worship of God is fallible.  I see this happening in our larger cities…Government is expected to solve all of humanity’s problems.  The more troubling thing is that most if not all churches now are misguided in their worship practice.

Like Jesus turning the tables of the greedy and manipulative money changers at the Temple, we must shake ourselves awake to our true purpose as caring individuals spreading the Good News that God wants us all to know; our Creator loves us and our prayerful good deeds lead directly to Him.  This would be my church and my proudest affiliation.  Does this worship experience exist for me here on earth without racial creeds or social justice dogma?  Like Jesus, each of us must find our direct link to  The ever loving God.

Peace always.

Looting and Destruction Is A Very Bad Choice…

By all accounts George Floyd of Minneapolis was not afforded the dignity that a human being deserves during a policing situation. His killing by a police officer was unjust and reprehensible.  

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To make matters worse, the young people who demonstrated through acts of destruction brought the wrong attention to their cause of ending police brutality to people of color. If the pillaging of neighborhoods and city centers is justified, then be prepared for what comes next…

– communities that lack food and housing security,

– mom and pop businesses that will struggle to rebuild,

– City resources limited by insufficient funds,

– further break down in trust.

If the problem is about police brutality to people of color, then why is destruction of community the answer? It is not! Without an identified leader to communicate a cohesive and principled message of action on the issue by using peaceful means and clarity of purpose then this destruction does not end, and unfortunately anger through fear remains the only message.

There are two sides…The police department is one side, and they are represented by the local city government and their union. But who is it that comprises the other side? This other side should not be known as a “leftist fringe” group because that is not who they really are. This other side must be comprised of concerned citizens who have respect from the community members to act on behalf of their best interests.

Let me suggest a six point plan to de-escalate the present condition and create a move toward progress:

1) Select 65 Minneapolis citizens comprised of five members from each of the thirteen wards…These citizens would not be from the active leadership of government. These citizens along with a respected and trained facilitator would convene a community meeting with the Mayor and City Councilors to address police brutality concerns.

2) The agenda for this meeting would be to identify 3 measurable goals toward solving police brutality concerns and to select a committee of no more than 13 volunteers from the original 65 citizens (one person from each ward).

3) This citizen committee should identify their mission and put forward a vision.

4) A trained facilitator would work with the committee and the City Council to identify the measures of the three goals which the city would then be charged to implement.

5) Progress is assessed quarterly, and new goals are identified annually.

6) The model is repeated in every U.S. community that wants to see changes made to policing (or any other city activity) in good faith.

I guarantee that trust would be strengthened in all aspects of community life. This is a similar model that I have used within my community. It has the added benefits of teaching improved communication skills and training new community members for future leadership roles.