While all North American UUs have seven principles that guide our choices and six sources that nourish our spirits, Canadian UUs also created five aspirations that help us grow. Last month, I told you that I’d be writing about each of these. This month, our aspiration is Radically Inclusive, which is perfect to follow our Western Region Fall Gathering theme of Building the Beloved Community.
So what’s the difference between “inclusive” and “radically inclusive”? Merriam-Webster defines radical thusly: “very different from the usual or traditional” and “favoring extreme changes in existing views, habits, conditions, or institutions”. So what happens when we apply that to the idea of inclusivity?
It means that each of us finds ourselves called to imagine and create a community, and experiences within that community, that are deliberately inclusive to people who think and engage with the world differently than we do ourselves. It means that striving for radical inclusivity, radical hospitality, means a willingness to make choices that include and welcome others, not just our self. It means recognizing that that way one of us feels about something is not going to represent the whole community, and that we need to make room for each other to be nourished in different ways — that diversity in worship and other forms of engagement is just as important as diversity of culture, economic class, gender, etc.
Rev. Jason Shelton, one of our WRFG stream leaders last month, explains it like this: the goal is to be nourished, stretched, and challenged… and that we must always remember that something stretching or challenging us is nourishing to someone else in the community. If we are truly looking at the big picture, which includes loving our neighbor as ourselves, then we will allow ourselves to be stretched, to be challenged, so that we may learn from what nourishes our neighbor in our Beloved Community.
As the CUC aspirations say — this is one of the ways we grow, and growth is central to a Unitarian Universalist identity.
See you in church!