Justice is our theme this month, a topic we weave throughout our worship and lives on a regular basis. In this reflection, I want to introduce a website that just launched: www.bethelove.net.
It was developed by Unitarian Universalist leaders who have been my teachers for the past four years. The site presents a paradigm for justice-making that is based on the Beloved Community paradigm. They give us some history:
The term “Beloved Community” was originally coined by Josiah Royce to describe a way of being in the world grounded not in disappointment but in possibility. For Royce, Beloved Community is a spiritual practice of loyalty — the radical idea that love is a more powerful force for change than fear. Our Universalist ancestors knew this to be true. They asserted that the purpose of the church is to heal one another into well-being; “to reverse the consequences of lovelessness and injustice in the souls and behaviors of its members” so that we can work together more effectively for a just social and economic order.
Beloved Community is the creative energy and prophetic imagination that sparked the Southern Freedom Struggle led by Martin Luther King, Jr.and others. Their vision was of the Beloved Community was a “radical redefinition of our relationships…a type of love that can transform opponents into friends.” It begins not by discriminating between worthy and unworthy or between friend and enemy. It is never limited to racial justice or building a social movement. First and foremost it is based on practicing together a fierce kind of love…”a willingness to go to any length to restore community.”
The site presents a comparison between the dominant approach to activism and the Beloved Community approach:
As I review this chart, I think here at our church, we are striving to live the Beloved Community Paradigm. I’d love to hear what you think. What are some examples of how we are doing so? And in what are ways are we still implementing a more “us” vs. “them” approach to justice?
As always, I look forward to reflecting with you and learning from you in the month ahead.