From our Minister: Spiritual Resilience 

February's Spiritual Theme for Community Exploration

This month our spiritual theme for community exploration is resilience. Broadly defined, resilience is our capacity to withstand challenges and recover from difficulties. Spiritual resilience might be defined as the capacity to remain centered; rooted in core values and principles, through the vicissitudes of life. Resilience is something that can be cultivated through practices such as setting good boundaries, self-care, community care, spiritual practice, counseling, optimism, gratitude, flexibility, and social action. This empowers us to make a difference in our lives and in the lives of others. Developmental Ministry is a period when communities learn what it means to be spiritually resilient by reinforcing healthy practices in community life and learning from mistakes. It takes time to create a new way of being that enhances our collective self-awareness and our capacities to treat each other with even greater sensitivity and compassion. This is challenging work because it is in direct opposition to so much of the political landscape and dominant culture in which we live.

Theme-based ministry in our community is an opportunity for everyone to consider universal themes of the liberal spirit each month to deepen our own knowledge and learn together in community. Although, I often implicitly include the monthly theme in many of the subjects I preach about each month, I am hoping to more actively engage with reflection on the monthly theme in these newsletter articles. I would like to invite you to also recommit to theme-based ministry in this new year. That can happen in small groups, after the worship services, in religious exploration, or in many other contexts of church life. One easy way to incorporate theme-based ministry into any group is to have a themed check-in time. A simple example of a themed-based check-in question would be: “How are you today and what has helped you to be resilient in life?”  Theme-based ministry works on a multi-year cycle with the intent of providing a way of measuring spiritual growth as we compare how our understanding of any given spiritual theme has changed or grown over time.

As we expand our commitments to anti-racism and anti-oppression work within ourselves, our community, and the larger world, it is important to learn from those who had to learn resilience as a means of survival. The Educating to Create Just Communities that Counter Oppressions educational philosophy of our Californian Unitarian Universalist theological school states: “People of color have resisted white supremacy in many ways. Communities of color teach patterns of resistance. Each person who survives oppression has found and moved along a path of resistance. Those who “were never meant to survive” but have survived, extend to the larger human community the wisdom and ways, options and opportunities, sounds and rhythms of resistance and survival. Such people make their lives a gift of authentic presence and witness.” So as we learn to better practice resilience and co-create a sustainable and regenerative beloved community, let us listen to the reservoirs of wisdom among us and in our larger community, and let us live into our solidarity with all those who dream of a better world.

With love and gratitude,

Jeremiah

 

Rev. Jeremiah Lal Shahbaz Kalendae

Developmental Minister

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