My engagement with Unitarian Universalism began in a time of upheaval. Fifteen years ago (I can't believe it's been that long), two things happened around the same time: My family started attending a Unitarian Universalist Congregation in Upstate New York, and September 11 fundamentally changed the course of American civil life.
Those two events are tied for me because I learned what it meant for faith to be counter-cultural. Members of that congregation spoke out against the Patriot act, as it was passing the Senate 98-1. Congregants spoke out against indefinite detentions and extraordinary rendition even as we were told that these were necessary actions to keep us 'safe.' I learned to protest in the runup to the invasion of Iraq, and how to deal respectfully but firmly with counter-protesters. Members of that congregation were removed from then Senator Clinton's office for protesting the war.
I'm working on my first post-election sermon, and this is what is on my mind: we as a faith have been here before. Some of our finest moments, from John Sigismund's early attempts at pluralism, to Holms' and Skinner's pacifism during the world wars, to Beacon Press publishing the Pentagon Papers, have come in times of upheaval when it felt like the values of pluralism and universal love that are so central to our faith were under siege. We've been here before, and that experience gives me hope for what comes next.
We are made for these times.