By Rev. Carol Bodeau
Hello dear friends,
This month, we’re kicking off a new theme at Westside. It’s called “What’s Your Story?” and it’s a way we can begin to learn more deeply about one another. For the next many months, we’ll be including worship services, discussion groups and maybe even a workshop or two, on the topic of our life adventures. The Wednesday evening discussion group is also using the genre of stories to explore important topics.
All of us have a story to tell, and these can help us understand one another better. “But what’s that got to do with changing the world?” you might ask. Isn’t focusing on us, us, us a
little self-centered? Isn’t that just more of the oft-criticized UU self-absorption?
My answer to that is a resounding “No!”….so long as we don’t stop with just our own stories. The secret to stories is that they can be a source of understanding, inspiration, encouragement, and clarity. If we just tell and hear stories as a way to affirm what we already know and believe, or to simply feel more set in existing patterns and plans, then the truth is that this can limit our willingness to engage in larger things.
But if we use stories as a jumping-off place, as a way to think more deeply about our assumptions, our habits, what we believe is possible or impossible, then sharing our stories can be the beginning of some real transformation of ourselves and the larger world.
In the current climate of division and polarization, it seems to me that greater curiosity and understanding are essential tools of radical social work. As Vietnamese Buddhist teacher Thich Nhat Han taught, the key to loving action is understanding one another. And, as the newly revised purposes and principles of our denomination state, the whole point of being engaged in Unitarian Universalism is to ‘transform the world through liberating love.’
So what’s your story? How might telling it contribute to your own liberation, and greater empowerment, or to the liberation or empowerment of others?
I’m looking forward to hearing it!
In faith and hope for a world made brighter by your presence,