Each month, a member of the board will share a reflection on the Soul Matters monthly theme and the state of the church. The Soul Matters theme for April is Liberation. This month’s post is offered by Melissa Martinson.
The theme for April is “liberation” – the act of setting someone free from imprisonment, slavery, or oppression; release. If ever there were a good time to for all of us to feel empathy for those who struggle to be liberated, it is now.
The current health crisis has many of us under a “shelter-in-place” order from the governor. The loss of the freedom to move about as we like or to congregate with whom we like has us feeling a bit like prisoners in our own homes. While there are many downsides, we are fortunate to know that it is not a permanent situation. One positive aspect is that it gives us the opportunity – however briefly – to walk a mile in the shoes of those whose freedoms are always curtailed.
This month, the UUA is launching the “Conversations for Liberation” program for congregations, which seeks to liberate people from the oppression caused by “-isms” of all stripes. Examples are racism, sexism, ageism and beliefism (not a real word, but should be! for religious persecution and the like). The goal of these conversations are for UUs to discern together how to move our faith forward toward greater justice. The first step is to commit to three core values of UUism:
- The goal of a fully inclusive and anti-oppressive community, which the UUA has given the shorthand title, “The Power of We”;
- The acceptance of truths from those at margins of our faith community;
- Leadership from the covenant of care that binds us.
In the program’s discussion guide are these inspiring words from Rev. Theresa I. Soto’s book of poetry, Spilling the Light:
To be free, you must embrace
the breadth of your own existence
without apology, even if they try to take
it from you. You must know, not that you
can do whatever you want; you are not
a kudzu vine, eating entire hillsides for
the purpose of feeding your own lush life. You
must know instead, that inside you are entire
Universes—milky blue, magenta, and gold—
expanding. But to actually be free, you must
know and you must fight for the entire
Universes inside of everyone else.
Being free is not a license, but
— Melissa Martinson,
Vice President, UUCM Board of Trustees