It’s hard to know what to write after being at a conference for 3 days that feels like it is dealing with the most urgent topics in a world so badly needing revolutionary love … but this is the way it feels this weekend in New York City.
I write this at the closing of The Middle Project’s 2016 conference Revolutionary Love: Tools, Tactics and Truth-telling to Dismantle Racism. It was hard to listen to the stellar leaders, activists and strugglers in the work of human equality and dignity and not think that this is the central calling of our time – the struggle to dismantle our system of white supremacy that lives in us all, that pervades our institutions and that appears in our political process so obviously right now. It is a necessary challenge to our comfort, it is a call to move forward – however we can, whenever we can, wherever we can. What this conference has stressed, however, is the need to do this with revolutionary love, perhaps as defined by activist Valarie Kaur:
What do we mean by love?
A well-spring of care; an awakening to inherent dignity and beauty; a quieting of the ego; a way of moving through the world in relationship, asking: What is your story? What is at stake? What is my part in your flourishing?
When is this kind of love “revolutionary?”
When we work together to change culture and policy in love – love for others, our opponents and ourselves – we create the conditions for lasting political, social and moral transformation.
I will return to you this week with this in my heart. I think about our pledge campaign in these terms: How can we fully fund this work of revolutionary love? I think about the upcoming installation as a call for the fierce urgency of revolutionary love. I think of our work on our strategic plan, vision and mission as our particular approach to birthing more revolutionary love in this world.
This past weekend was both heartbreaking and hope-making. The path forward is uncertain and messy. Our shared understanding or agreement will not always be in sync. We are all moving forward from where we are. My hope is that we will all move forward.
My inspiration can be found in these quotes from the conference: “The table is incomplete until all have arrived,” and “How we make the change is as important as the change we make.” This raises the question for me personally, for our congregation, for Unitarian Universalism and for us all: How revolutionary is our love and what risks are we willing to take to truly change the world?
With love and hope.