Monthly Spiritual Exercises
Each month you can deepen your experience of our worship theme by engaging in the monthly spiritual exercise. If you are not part of the Soul Matters Circle, share your experience of the spiritual exercise with others on the “Friends of UCM” Facebook group, at coffee hour on Sundays, or even with your family and friends in your day-to-day life.
October’s Spiritual Exercises: Courage
OPTION A: Move Outside Your Comfort Zone
We rarely give ordinary courage the honor it is due. On a daily basis, the threats we face are not the dramatic dangers of burning buildings but the insidious hazards of our comfort zones. This reminds us that the enemy of courage is often not fear but safety and routine. Sometimes those routines support and structure our lives; sometimes they stifle and shrink them. So this month, you are invited to pursue the practice of ordinary risk and adventure. Your instructions are simple: Pick an activity that pulls you out of your comfort zone.
Here’s some inspiration and guidance:
Come to your group ready to share:
- Why you picked this activity – share a bit about how your comfort zone had become “dangerous.”
- How your activity emboldened you, and hopefully changed you.
- How you plan to stick with it – what skills or new ways of thinking did you learn that will keep you from falling back into your rut?
OPTION B: Prop Up The Courage of Others
We all have people in our lives who inspire us with their courage. But have we ever told them? We know how important it is to have our courage noticed, so let’s be sure to offer that gift to others this month. Write a letter, give a symbolic gift or treat them to lunch or coffee–whatever it is, find a way to tell someone that their bravery is seen and matters. It’s said that courage is contagious. But how would one ever know that their bravery has inspired many, unless we tell them so?
OPTION C: The Courage of An Ally
As a faith movement, we are waking up to the need for radical action around racial justice and healing. For white UUs, that work involves a deeper and more developed understanding of allyship. It is possibly the most courageous work to which we are called today. So this month, you are invited to begin or lean more intentionally into that work. Here is one way to turn that work into a spiritual practice this month:
- Listen and learn: Make time this month to go through the list of videos and essays below.
- Identify Your Resistance: Notice where you find yourself pushing back while watching and reading the videos and essays. Try to avoid defensiveness. Also be sure to offer yourself compassion.
- Identify and Commit to Your Work: Maybe it’s more learning. Perhaps it involves finding the courage to confront racism from a family member or co-worker. You might even be ready to invite someone into a courageous conversation. Take your time to figure it out. If you listen deeply to the videos and articles, your work will surely and clearly emerge.
Resources For Courageous Allyship:
- Tips For White Allies: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2c5xelPE8fc
- How To Be A White Ally – DON’T: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7sOPngK1DSc
White Allies: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SX4r7XZFJU0
- Five Strategies for Courageous Conversations about Racism with friends, family & co-workers: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c6Wq7mc5PAg&index=37&list=PL8PINNxdxiI6gcm6fxPDG9Yt_lMrMrluf
- Eleven Ways White America Avoids Taking Responsibility for its Racism: http://www.hopkinsmn.com/police/equity/pdf/11-ways-avoid-taking-responsibility.pdf
- Increase Your Racial Stamina: Take The Pledge: https://notesfromanaspiringhumanitarian.com/white-people-increase-your-racial-stamina-take-the-pledge/
- We Need Co-conspirators, Not Allies: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/jun/26/how-white-americans-can-fight-racism
- White People in Solidarity Against Racism: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KahoDIihsKI
- What Are White People To Do? – A Forum on Racism and Being Part of the Solution – UU Tulsa: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=acx-PVNPDO0