|2006 Mayor Shirley Franklin's Stand|
Usually, I want to shut my eyes and ears to this kind of story because it makes me nauseous and corrodes my faith in humanity. I feel helpless and depressed and don't want to hear any more. But because I am getting serious as a Universalist Christian, I realize that I cannot shut my eyes to this Hell any longer. My faith mandates that I do all I can to help others live into their inherent worth and dignity.
Earlier I had blogged about not having a strong personal drive for social justice. Maybe I was just assuming that social justice only meant typical UU social justice, which tends to emphasis justice over social. Dan Harper has blogged about the need for UUs to embrace more diverse social justice issues - getting away from only supporting the same go-to white upper-middle class causes like the environment. Now I really see the truth of his argument.
Jonathan Brink, author of Discovering the God Imagination, is showing me the real value of Universalism beyond a theology that makes me feel good. In his book he turns traditional Christian dogma on its head and reanalyzes the fundamental moments of the Christian Bible - creation, "the fall" and the crucifixion - to show that God created us all with inherent worth and dignity, but that we enter Hell when we judge ourselves to be worthless. Salvation is restoring your own sense of self-worth, awakening to the love of God that was there all along.
This universalist treatise would risk being overly clever and pat if he didn't also provide ample evidence of its everyday truth. From addicts to beggars, he shows us that restoring self-love and dignity is where true salvation lies. No surprise there! We Unitarian Universalists have been affirming this theology for ages - we even made it our first principle of covenant together.
When you put this into radical practice though, it completely changes your life. It means we have to get serious about saving people. We need to save people from feeling worthless. Because losing sight of your own beauty, or having someone strip you of your dignity, is the highest crime of humanity. I believe it is an affront to God. God wants us to be on the path of Life, to realize our own worth, and to affirm that worth in others.
This is not just what I believe - this is the truth that we affirm as Unitarian Universalists. I think I'm starting to see what it really means to stand on the side of love...