My dears, my heart is heavy today. In various ways, my Unitarian Universalist colleagues of color, trans and non-binary colleagues, colleagues with disabilities, and fat colleagues have spoken up today talk about bias, harm, and ongoing injury in our ministerial association. (UUMA)
There is so much harm done in ministerial circles….and these are allegedly circles of care, compassion, and ultimately of covenant.
So this note is just a reminder for all of us in The Way of the River, all of us comrades. I intend that The Way of the River be a place where Black live and the lives of other people of color and indigenous people matter. Trans/non-binary/gender non-conforming lives matter. Fat lives matter. Disabled lives matter. Women’s lives matter. Immigrants’ lives matter.
Many of us hold identities that are so complex we cannot hope to pull one thread from another. We are harmed and we have caused harm. Yes. That is true.
But what I mean to say here is that I want The Way of the River to be an anti-oppressive space. The personal is political, yes, but the spiritual is political. We cannot love one another if we are not loving one another, eh?
And loving one another MEANS loving across difference. And to love means to welcome.
To welcome is to create spaces that think of others and so to risk being wrong or missing people as we work toward inclusion, welcome, and celebration of one another’s liberation and dignity. To risk doing it wrong, and to try again to do better. And taking the risks and trying again both and always out of love.
That is why I have written about characteristics of the white supremacy culture from which I benefit and which I perpetuate and work to dismantle, all at once. And why I write and talk about the kyriarchy — the rule of “the lords” — writ large.
It is why I write about being fat and having mental illness and physical disability. It is why I write about being a survivor of sexual assault when men believed they had more right to my body than I did myself. And I believed them.
And all of this is why I’d like to hear from you, ESPECIALLY if you are part of a marginalized group, if you hold identities of struggle. My email is firstname.lastname@example.org.
I will read what you write, I promise.
I will try to get back to everyone who writes to me, though I know that that is a dangerous promise to make.
Especially if you think that there are things I need to talk about that I’m not talking about, please let me know. May we have a conversation about what you wish I’d say that I haven’t? Please email me, or send me a PM or ask for a Zoom call.
I love you.
There may or may not be Reflections this week. This note may be the only public writing I feel able to do; we shall see.
But know that I love you, and that I am especially sitting in solidarity and comradeship with all seeking liberation, dignity and joy, and all who work to dismantle any myths of supremacy. (Thank you, adrienne maree brown for those words.)