“Democratic citizenship may be an art we are forgetting how to practice…” notes author Marilynne Robinson in a Guardian opinion piece following the January 6 insurrection attempt. She wonders if the self-restraints on resentment and self-interest, which enable citizens to accept leaders we haven’t chosen, are disappearing. “Perhaps” she mused “these (restraints) were instilled with the old cultivation of the soul…”
The pledge team has landed on the Mobius Strip as the 2021 pledge drive symbol, and I love it as a metaphor for faith practice. The inside of the loop becomes the outside of loop becomes the inside, into infinity. Begin drawing a colorful line on one side of the strip and next you know both sides are vibrant, like magic. I imagine many faith traditions might say the same is true regarding inner spirit and outer behavior. Both in need of attention as they are so intrinsically linked, each leading into the other infinitely cultivating our soul.
In this beloved community we might use love and justice instead of spirit and behavior, or gratitude and generosity, or reflection and action. But however differently we may imagine our own spiritual practice, we do have common restraints on how we act in the world. We are charged to “Justice, equality and compassion in human relations” and “the use of democratic process within our congregations and society at large” as well as “a responsible search for truth and meaning” within our principals as Unitarian Universalists. Three of our seven values I am finding useful to lean on right now.
What I love about practicing spirituality within a congregation is the support and wisdom you all give to me in this endeavor. But, knowing how fragile my own self-restraint can be at times, what I think is important about it is the accountability you all hold me to in living into the values we share.
When we talk about “Sustaining First Church” this pledge season, we are talking about sustaining a community that strives to live into justice and democracy and works to cultivate truth seeking souls. In fact we are a community that sees these goals as intrinsically linked. A Beloved Community.
Please join us in the conversation! Many of your fabulous fellow members have agreed to host Zoom Community Pledge Events in February to talk about practice, values and (a very little bit) pledging! PLEASE respond yes when you get an invitation!
Lynne Jacoby, Membership Development Coordinator