This is the 5th part of a 6-part series.

The fourth stone is the heaviest one for me. Virtue and goodness depends on you and me, on our integrity.  An integral part of our freedom is choosing how we respond to our changing context. How does our process reflect our values of shared ministry and transparency?

How do we model our vision of a Beloved Community?

A group of low income young adults in an expensive metropolis might start a housing cooperative.

A group of parents who want to offer a summer camp alternative to Adam and Eve walking with dinosaurs might start their own camp with Charles Darwin as inspiration.

A church without walls uses the latest technology to share the message of love across the miles, whether that technology is a mimeograph machine or an iPhone app.

People with privilege learn to partner with and be accountable to minority organizations rather than try to start their own.

This stone is in tension with the second stone of free and mutual consent.  How do we invite others into our vision of the beloved community while honoring difference and diversity?  We must guard against letting persuasion slide into coercion.

One way that I think we do this well is when we patiently hold someone in care when they have lost their way. This means we firmly point them in the direction of what we believe is the right while being true to our 7 principles.

There was a recent story in the news that exemplified this ethic about Connie Schultz, a price winning newspaper columnist. She received an email from a blogger from a conservative organization, stating:

We are doing an expose on journalists in the elite media who socialize with elected officials they are assigned to cover. We have found numerous photos of you with Sen. Sherrod Brown. In one of them, you appear to be hugging him.  Care to comment?

She replied:

Dear Mr. [Name Deleted]:

I am surprised you did not find a photo of me kissing U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown so hard he passes out from lack of oxygen. He’s really cute. He’s also my husband. You know that, right?

Connie Schultz.

In a post on her Facebook page, she shared more of the story.

To those asking for (the blogger’s) identity: I figured him to be an intern, as I couldn’t find his name on the staff list of the blog he represented. I’m a mom. I want him to learn the right lessons from this, which won’t happen if I out him.

I don’t know Ms. Schultz’s religious affiliation, but this is a fine example of holding someone both accountable for their actions and in care at the same time.

 

About the Author
Rev. Renee Ruchotzke
Leadership Development Consultant, Central East Regional Group (CERG) of the UUA. I have a vision of Unitarian Universalist congregations being led by thousands of diverse, spiritually mature and passionate people ready and willing to spread the good news of liberal religion.  I believe ministry is best when shared between lay and professional leaders. More information about me can be found on the UUA website.