“Church is a place where you get to practice what it means to be human.”
— James Luther Adams, Unitarian Universalist Theologian


For many years I would sit in the back church, listen, meditate, sing.  Then moved by the words and music, leave without speaking to anyone.  What was I practicing?  I was taking time for my soul’s undefined yearnings and being with others seeking the sacred.  I found solace and some joy, and certainly a kind of spiritual band aid on the week.

I did not imagine that the church could offer me more, or that I could offer the church more.

At that time, it felt deeply vulnerable just to be there.  To pause and recognize I needed to be with people who embraced the diverse scope of humanity and struggled to recenter themselves around love in a complex world.   I wonder now, what was holding me back?  What keeps us at a distance from the people we worship with?  Why is it hard to risk being known?

Science has confirmed that our relationships keep us happier and healthier throughout our life spans. Yet, we are in an epidemic of loneliness in a world struggling with polarization. Learning to practice nurturing our relationships, expand how we know one another is what church is for.

Last month in the Youth Room, we witnessed one of the bravest acts I have ever seen at church.  One of our youths, working with me and planning with their supportive parent asked to do a presentation on their autism.  They got up, in front of their peers and named who they are, how they move through the world, their preferences, needs and best practices of communication. It was a bold and courageous act. It clearly communicated something that is too often hard to name, “I want you to know me, and in return I want to know you. “

Magic happened, you could feel the room break open, this youth’s vulnerability allowed everyone else to be open and vulnerable.  There is a collective power in sharing one’s   vulnerability, it gives permission to be human.  And just like that.  The world got a little safer and kinder.

Instead of feeling that we needed to perform being human, we were able to just practice being human.

Wherever you are on your journey, I invite you to stretch yourself, be vulnerable and brave, nurture a relationship with yourself and others. Risk being fully known.  It’s good for your mind, body and spirit and it truly makes the world a better place.

May it be so,
Rev. Kimberlee
Rev. Kimberlee Tomczak Carlson, Minister of Religious Education

Back to All