Who Are We Together?

“Human beings, individually and collectively, become human by making a commitment, by making promises. The human being as such, as Martin Buber says, is the promise-making, promise-keeping, promise-breaking, promise-renewing creature. The human being is the promise maker, the commitment maker.”
~ from “The Five Major Ingredients of Covenant” by James Luther Adams

James Baldwin once said, “Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.” This unit explores how our values, attitudes, and behaviors are shaped by our experiences living in the United States and, more specifically, as Unitarian Universalists (or as religious liberals). Consider how our values might keep us from living as fully and inclusively as we would prefer.

In this unit, we consider these primary questions:

  • How does our experience of living in the United States impact our ability to be co-travelers with the disenfranchised and disempowered?
  • How might some of our cherished religious values shape our engagement with other cultures and worldviews, both positively and negatively?
  • What kinds of spiritual or psychological resilience are necessary to engage others with integrity and respect?
  • What is the role of covenant — the promises we make to one another and to our hosts — as we move into a service-learning experience?

Opening Meditation

“Come, Come” — Leslie Takahashi Morris (adapted from Rumi)

Come, come, whoever you are
Come with your hurts, your imperfections,
your places that feel raw and exposed.
Come, come, whoever you are
Come with your strengths that the world shudders to hold
come with your wild imaginings of a better world,
come with your hopes that it seems no one wants to hear.

Wanderer, worshiper, lover of leaving we will make a place for you,
we will build a home together.
Ours is no caravan of despair.
We walk together; Come, yet again come.

~ from Voices from the Margins, edited by Jacqui James and Mark Morrison-Reed

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