It is a quiet partial fifth week at UU Santa Fe.
Today, I want to share a little about why I hope you'll consider attending the ADORE program sponsored by the WIDER team.
In her work with company leaders across multiple industries, business educator Liz Fosslien reminds them that “diversity is having a seat at the table, inclusion is having a voice, and belonging is having that voice be heard,” but having that sense of belonging is not feeling similar or alike everyone else but feeling like you are welcomed and embraced because you are uniquely different.
Belonging leads to connection and connection leads to individual and communal thriving. Belonging even has the potential to heal. A recent study demonstrated that while obesity can raise the risk of early death by 20%, living in perpetual loneliness raises that risk to over 45%. Coming out of Covid, over 40% of people living in the United States report that they feel more alone than ever.
We are in a liminal time as we come out of this pandemic, to the place between. Ancient civilizations viewed these times as ones where what comes next is not yet visible, but where communities are led to set aside what has been in anticipation for that next iteration. Our environment reflects this cycle each winter as the next spring lays hidden beneath the snow.
Next month we will speak of courage. Some courageous actions begin with efforts to help more people feel what it means to belong. For many years, some of those movements focused on equality, fighting to create a world where each person could access the same open doors, but just as UU Santa Fe found with the Afghani family we have helped sponsor, sometimes something more is needed than just an open door. That is why many justice movements now seek equity first. Equity does not see each person’s circumstances as the same but seeks to help all reach the same outcomes no matter where they start.
Here is an example of the difference. The first woman elected to serve in the House of Representatives was Jeannette Rankin from Montana who was sworn into office in April of 1917. Yet, as of September 21, 2022, women are still less than 28% of those elected to that chamber. Likewise, Hattie Caraway from Arkansas became the first female senator in 1932. Today, only 24 women serve in the Senate. Women have equality to seek office, but in a political system designed by and for white, male landowners, access cannot achieve equal outcomes even after the door is opened. Through equity, we access full equality.
Equity is a tool to help build the Beloved Community. Rev. Dr Martin Luther King’s words are shared by the UUA to explain why this is a goal of so many people and communities. “For Dr. King, the Beloved Community is indeed about the whole world, not just individual communities here and there. To bring Beloved Community into existence, individual people and communities must form a global movement where governments and citizens, faith organizations, nonprofits, and even corporations refuse to tolerate poverty, homelessness, or hunger. The same is true for all forms of oppression and prejudice.”
We hope you will consider attending ADORE and that you will bring your own hope and vision for a world where all have a place to belong with you. The first session is October 13th from 6 – 8 pm. All sessions will be held on Zoom and you may sign up for the first two sessions here.
In the meantime, here is one of my favorite justice anthems. As we begin ADORE as a community, what songs make up your soundtrack along the road to belonging?
Also this week: Rosh Hashanah begins tonight and lasts until Sunday; Rumi’s birthday is September 30th (born in 1207); and for those from the Universalist side of our community, the 30th was also the day John Murray preached for the first time in the United States in 1770.
There is one update regarding this email. Beginning this week, it will arrive to you late on Sundays most weeks. This will allow me to continue using Monday as a dissertation writing day.
Have a great week!
“Love is a combination of care, commitment, knowledge, responsibility, respect and trust.”
― bell hooks, Communion: The Female Search for Love