Some days, it feels to me as if there is a general level of anxiety in the world, in our country, and perhaps even in our congregation. We see the specter of climate change, with floods in some places and droughts in others, and extreme weather breaking records. Famine and hunger in many places of the world. Here in the US, we still have not really healed, as a nation, from the experience of 9/11, nor have the wars that followed done anything to help (and in fact, those wars have brought pain and suffering to the lives of many innocents.) The rise of Neo-Conservatism, an almost cartoonish understanding of Libertarianism (to use the words of a political pundit), and various forms of religious Fundamentalism, have all polarized our society, as well as around the world. Sharia Law is being imposed in many Muslim countries, often against the wishes of the populace. Nationalism is rising in Europe, threatening to ruin their ‘Great Experiment’ of working towards some form of unification. Here at home, Tea Party types are overturning so much of our social progress in America, and pulling highly conservative politicians even further to the Right. Also, strict Fundamentalist Christians are seeking office and trying to enshrine their understanding of Biblical teachings as law in various places around our country.
In this month, in which our KUUF Worship Theme is Witness and Action, these issues are weighing heavily upon me. As I have often written here, one aspect of my monthly letter to the congregation is to suggest a touchstone,
some anchor to a reality that we can be comfortable within, as we each seek our own True North, our own search for truth and meaning. Finding a touchstone for such huge issues in the world is a difficult undertaking. The touchstone that comes to mind for me is an old maxim that I used to hear in my early days of social justice work:
Act Locally, Think Globally. We are already thinking globally, hence the paragraph above. But, what about acting locally? What can we do?
Vote, even during midterm elections that traditionally have lower participation. Speak out on issues that you believe in – do not cede the public square to extremists. Volunteer at a nonprofit or NGO. Donate to progressive, life-saving causes. Show your children or grandchildren, nieces and nephews, that there are multiple ways to live life, and that everything is not black and white. As I recently preached, not only are there shades of grey, but there are also all the other colors of the rainbow! Finally, work together as a caring community, ensuring that your UU congregation continues to the “Beacon of Liberal Faith and Hope on the Kitsap Peninsula” that we have all heard so much about. By working together, we have more opportunity and ability to really make a difference in our surrounding community.
May it ever be so and blessed be you all!
– Rev. Mike