My fellow Unitarian Universalists, ours is a communal religion. The covenantal nature means that community is foundational. Our Principles make it also our hope for the future. Community is vital to Unitarian Universalism; how we form them, govern them, how we are a part of them, and who is included. Community, the Beloved Community, is our ever-evolving paradise.
It values individuality without exalting Individualism, allowing us all to be ourselves but also asking us to be there for each other.
Beloved Community is not a static place that we will reach, but a covenant that will change as needed to ensure that everyone is given the opportunity and tools to be their best self. It means that every person will be educated, fed, and given access to care and encouragement to make the best of their lives, whatever their own best is. It is for all of us, or it isn’t the real thing.
Everyone is included, even people we don’t like.
We wish for everyone to heal from their hurt and fear, become their best self, and be a positive member of the community. We can hold people responsible for their actions, but we also have to believe that they can each choose to be their best self with the right encouragement. Realistically, some people will not get there, but we hope nonetheless. We want to welcome everyone.
Beloved Community is Diverse!
And Beloved Community requires that everyone is able to be their authentic self. While we must not exalt individualism, we must respect the individuality and identity of every person. Your race and gender are no more a barrier to membership than your height or middle name. We strive for justice and equity for all people regardless of their origin or circumstance. Beloved Community must be inclusive and intersectional.
We all face, at some point, feelings of being on the outside. We have to remember that the forces of authoritarianism and fundamentalism nurture those feelings. “Us versus Them” thinking is antithetical to our mission. We cannot allow our discomfort to stand in the way of doing what is right. Fear and trepidation cannot keep us from being with those who are at risk of losing their rights, their families, or their lives. We must be firm in our commitment to justice, equity, and compassion.
There are people in the world who profit from fear. There are others who are simply controlled by it. Our greatest weapons against fear are hope and love; hope that we can build a better way and love to make it possible.