As I write this I am immersed in the Ministers' Winter Retreat. We are gathered to explore the joys and tribulations of multi-cultural engagement. It is a wonderful, helpful, difficult, uncomfortable, joyful, and, oh so, important experience for me to take part in. We know that we want to be an inclusive community here at UUCA and I believe we are just that. We also know that inclusivity means we are inviting ourselves and all those who come to join us into a multi-cultural community. And that means we have responsibility to understand all the complexity that this brings to our community. We need to recognize all the ways in which we understand the world differently, all the ways in which we have different expectations of behavior, all the ways in which we can miscommunicate with one another because we have different cultural backgrounds and very different present cultures. It is the task we have to do if we wish to be Unitarian Universalist and part of this beloved community.
This afternoon I participated in a conversation in which we talked about how we have been hurt because something in our culture has been dismissed or denigrated in our own group. It was a difficult, even painful discussion, but we addressed the elephant on the table and learned from one another. We made ourselves vulnerable to one another and trusted that we would be treated in a loving way and listened to respectfully. That's a leap of faith, but it is probably essential to any successful multi-cultural group. And here's the most important point of all: it's always a multicultural group/experience. We all have different cultures. Culture is complex and multi-faceted and all of us have some cultural differences from each other. So the risks and skills, and the great joy are always present in any encounter. But what a wonderful thing that is since we enrich each other's lives as we share our cultures. We need to love one another, to connect with one another, and to forgive one another when problems inevitably arise. Else we'll never get to the richness and the joy.
In the meantime, may you