Showing posts with label Vision. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Vision. Show all posts

Sunday, September 15, 2019

Letters from UU A Way Of Life - Welcoming and getting along: A Vision for the ages.

It's been quite a week at UU A Way Of Life. One of our members went to Sunday service at the First Unitarian Universalist Church of Dismal Seepage and reported back to headquarters that the congregation has come up with a new vision statement. The vision statement says that they will become a congregation where everybody loves everybody all the time which will nurture everyone's spirit and create peace and justice throughout the world.

Everyone clapped and expressed immense satisfaction at their cleverness, goodness, and benevolence.

Our reporter said she asked members of the congregation at the coffee hour what the vision meant to them.

Jasper said, "It's wonderful that people here are so wonderful and I think their wonderfulness will spread. It's infectious you know."

Linda joined in and said, "We have the most wonderful group of people who are so welcoming to everyone as long as they act right."

Helen agreed, "Yes, our pastor is so wonderful and she encourages everyone to share and be kind to everyone.

Our reported asked why the congregation was so small if it was so wonderful.

Art said, "Well, most people don't get it. The more cynical world calls us liberal do gooders and scoffs. I suppose, in a way, they are right. I was told, 'If you folks don't stand for something, you'll fall for anything.' and we do tend to fall for just about anything because we think it is important to get along and sometimes you have to go along to get along. You know what I mean?"

Betsy said, "Yeah, we're not looking for trouble with anyone. We encourag people to leave their drama at the door. The one thing we don't do well with is conflict."

Jasper said, "Conflict is a deal breaker and UUs are big on schism. They tend to avoid conflict and just walk out the door and don't come back."

Our reporter asked, "Is it realistic to think that people can have loving and welcoming connections all the time?"

Kevin said, "No probably not, but we don't like to talk about it."

So, our reporter reported that the one thing that is not welcome in the First UU vision is conflict and disagreement and if it comes up people damn well better be nice about it or they can leave.

That's the way it has been this past week at UU A Way of Life where all the men are nice, all the women are wonderful, and all the children play quietly with each other sharing their toys generously.

Monday, May 16, 2011

What is divine love like?

I have been reading Father Gregory Boyle's book, "Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion" in which he describes his work with gang members in Los Angeles. On page 43 he quotes theologian Belden Lane:

"Divine love is incessantly restless until it turns all woundedness into health, all deformity into beauty, and all embarrassment into laughter."

Yesterday after the Charter Sunday service at the Brockport Unitarian Universalist Fellowship and our coffee hour, a small group of us met with Connie Goodbread, the Intermin Executive of the St. Lawrence District of the UUA. Ms. Goodbread  stated that churches flourish and grow when they are clear about their core values, and then enact them in their activities.

I asked her what core values she thought might be most important? She never missed a beat, looked me right in the eye, and said "Love and hope."

"Well, yes, of course," I thought to myself. I knew that. But what of "love and hope?" Who couldn't agree to that? And what does it mean anyway when love and hope get brought into application in a church congregation? And then I was blessed last night before I went to sleep to read Belden Lane's quote.

What love means is turning woundedness into health. We have plenty of wounded people. We all are wounded in some way. Can I come here and be who I am, and can that be okay, or do I have to pretend that things are different for me than deep down I really think they are?

Love means turning deformity into beauty, not to deny it, or avoid it, or hid from it, and pretend it isn't deformity, but to incorporate it into a whole in a lovely way so that imperfection becomes the very thing that makes the bigger thing perfect. In other words when life gives us lemons can we make lemonade? Maybe I can make lemonade from lemons if I have help, and there are people who believe in my intrinsic value in spite of my deformities, and who are interesting, willing, and able to show me how.

Love means turning embarrassment into laughter because our biggest fear is shame. Most of us are terrified that we are defective and inadequate in some way. We fear that it is only a matter of time, or a misstep, or a pulling away of the facade, and the truth we fear will be explosed , and we will be terribly shamed in front of those we want to love us. True love is knowing the worst about a person and loving them anyway.

We, at the Brockport Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, in Brockport, NY, are building a church full of love, where it will be a sanctuary, an asylum, where people can come as they are and be who they truly are, and be loved warts and all.