Brokenness, evil, hope, encounter, partnership, accountability, effectiveness, justice, change, worship, and repeat.
That is the mantra that is emerging for me over the course of my past two days surrounded by committed and prophetic Unitarian Universalists. Without naming it, I have spent my nearly three years with the UUA’s Washington Office learning and living this mantra. Much of my inspiration and guidance along this journey comes from the people present at this convocation.
I was asked at the convocation how I see my faith impacting my justice work. I quickly replied, ‘I don’t see a difference between the two.’ When asked to expand on that, I had trouble articulating what I meant. But after listening to so many panelists speak of such core components of our faith and our work for justice, I zeroed in on a clearer sense of my meaning. My faith is composed of community, reality, hope, belief and joyfully showing up to do the work. My justice work is also composed of community, reality, hope, belief and joyfully showing up to do the work. At their core, I don’t see a difference.
But there is a need – and a space – for our faith to have a more defined and complete theology of justice and ministry other than faith = justice. I have found that the space between and among our faith and justice work is filled with the elements of the mantra above. Each one of those elements has been spoken to at this convocation, albeit in often disjointed and incomplete ways. But, like a puzzle, as each moment passes the picture is becoming more clear.
At the end of the last panel discussion we were asked to come forward and share song or metaphor to illustrate our visions of prophecy and justice. Participant after participant went to the microphone and stood before all of us and the camera, and beautifully and articulately added more and more pieces to the emerging puzzle. I was literally on the edge of my seat.