Commit2Respond Day 10: Broken Hearts, Wake the Town

In support of the 30 Days of Love/Commit2Respond – Climate Justice

Day 10

Turn my head from suffering and I miss life, too.
Crack me open
bring me back alive, and
show me truth.

Turn toward suffering and claim life,
Present to hurt and lies.

Our anguished hearts
honor the beauty and necessity
of lives beyond our own.

Let our broken hearts ignite
the warning fires.
Rouse the town to suffering,
to goodness, and to life.

Rev. Karen Brammer is the UUA’s Green Sanctuary Manager and Minister at the Fourth Unitarian Society of Westchester in Mohegan Lake, NY.

Today’s practice is to participate in the Climate Ribbon arts ritual, a project that grew out of the People’s Climate March to grieve what each of us stands to lose to “climate chaos” and affirm our solidarity as we unite to fight against it. Join the Climate Ribbon by adding your voice to the project and/or organizing a ritual for a group of loved ones or fellow people of faith and conscience.

Today’s resource for deepening this message is this collection of worship resources from Commit2Respond, which has been growing throughout Climate Justice Month. Helping each other grieve is essential in our communities of faith. You can add your own most meaningful worship resources by commenting on the page; resources from all traditions are welcome.

Commit2Respond’s Climate Justice Month intends to take you through a transformative spiritual process leading to long-term commitments to climate justice. At the end of the month you will be asked to SHIFT to a low carbon future, ADVANCE human rights, and GROW the movement. Learn more and start thinking about how you will #commit2respond to climate change.

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Commit2Respond Day 9: Reckoning with Fire

In support of the 30 Days of Love/Commit2Respond – Climate Justice

Day 9

Fire is “too much with us; late and soon….”
Of late, terrorists made spectacle of massacre, setting ablaze a living man, in a cage.
Of late, 9/11, Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Dachau and Auschwitz,
Fiery crosses and lynching trees—hate’s infernos.
….
Soon (and now) fossils afire, we warm the oceans, parch the soil, turn trees to kindling.
Of late and soon, self-immolating, we set this world, our home, ablaze.
We make spectacle of massacre.
“For this, for everything, we are out of tune….
….
But let us never forget, never again—fire “changes everything.”
In the beginning was fire, and fire’s the seed of stars—
Ex ignis, we come from fire.
Fire, our first tool, warmed and gathered us.
Fire, need not and cannot and will not be, our blazing cage.

Dr. Michael Hogue is Professor of Theology at Meadville Lombard Theological School and teaches and writes at the interface of religion and ecology.

Today’s practice is to light a flame and reflect on the power and symbolism of fire for you. Dr. Michael Hogue writes of fire’s many meanings. What does fire symbolize for you? Honor the complexities and contradictions of fire and consider how to tend the flames of inspiration, resistance, and justice without allowing fire to become “our blazing cage.”

Today’s resource for deepening this message is the free movie Disruption. This 52-minute film created by the organizers of the People’s Climate March provides a powerful encapsulation of where we are now and how we got to our current social, moral, and ecological crossroads, as well as a behind-the-scenes look at the organizing of the largest climate rally ever. (This 3-minute “tipping points” excerpt is a great shareable clip.)

Commit2Respond’s Climate Justice Month intends to take you through a transformative spiritual process leading to long-term commitments to climate justice. At the end of the month you will be asked to SHIFT to a low carbon future, ADVANCE human rights, and GROW the movement. Learn more and start thinking about how you will #commit2respond to climate change.

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Commit2Respond Day 8: Confronting Our Reality

In support of the 30 Days of Love/Commit2Respond – Climate Justice

Day 8

What may strike most of us as a frightening proposition is the fact that we mere mortals have the capacity now to decide not only our own life paths, but also the fate of the earth replete with all its luscious complex ecosystems of which we are a part.

The notion of earth as an interconnected web is finally dawning on the stubborn belief of human exceptionalism. We are but a trifling part of global existence, but find ourselves in the unique position of imagining its future. Keeping the earth sustainable for future life, a home to innumerable species in decades to come rests now with our own construct of meaning.

In pursuit of quenching the thirst of our greed, we have looked away from the values that shape meaning in our practical lives. We are blessed with the freedom to mold new paradigms in which the real world is no longer defined by the consumption of things. But we are also free to avoid that freedom which has chained us to addictions of insatiable appetites.

If religion is now understood in these contemporary times as shaping meaning in our practical lives, then surely we must stop looking away from the issues that demand our involvement. Protecting unlimited numbers of species and securing a future for our children emerge as the quintessential religious questions of this era.

How do we honor our habitat? What values do we bring to bear in order to sustain the natural world teeming with life? If we pretend to be religious, we can no longer pretend to have values that take precedence over sustaining the earth. Values are not the province of convenience. Values test our mettle, and we can only pray that we meet the challenge quickly.

Rev. Tom Goldsmith is the senior minister at First Unitarian Church, Salt Lake City.

Today’s practice is to reflect on the values you hold and that you bring to bear “in order to sustain the natural world.” Each of us as a person of faith or conscience brings our own unique take on the values that shape meaning in our practical lives. Take the time to write down your core values and do something meaningful with the words—for example, add them to a personal altar, share them with a loved one, bury or burn them, post them on a physical or virtual wall.

Today’s resource for deepening this message is Julia Butterfly Hill’s series of 7-10 minute videos on Spiritual Activism. In 1997 at the age of 24, Hill began a 2-year act of civil disobedience when she took up residence in a 1,000-year-old redwood tree to save it from destruction and raise awareness of deforestation practices. She has since co-founded the organization What’s Your Tree and grounds her work in the spiritual practice of yoga.

In the six short Spiritual Activism videos Hill covers (1) introduction, (2) spiritual activism and the power of breath, (3) making one’s life a legacy, practicing embodied presence, and facing “the disease of disconnect,” (4) living so fully and presently in love that there is no room for anything else to exist, (5) making choices that create and model the world we envision, and (6) rejoicing, and the power of extending our definition of community.

Commit2Respond’s Climate Justice Month intends to take you through a transformative spiritual process leading to long-term commitments to climate justice. At the end of the month you will be asked to SHIFT to a low carbon future, ADVANCE human rights, and GROW the movement. Learn more and start thinking about how you will #commit2respond to climate change.

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Commit2Respond Day 7: Reckoning

In support of the 30 Days of Love/Commit2Respond – Climate Justice

Day 7

Today begins our week-long journey into grieving and reckoning with the losses we are facing as an Earth Community. We are reminded not only of our own mortality, but also of the mortality of the planet. We are asked to face boldly into the knowledge of what humankind has brought to pass in very short time as measured on a geological scale.

We are reminded to be attentive to the fact that some, by virtue of the many and various markers of a privileged socioeconomic status, can make the temporary choice of distancing themselves from the suffering born of environmental devastation. Let us choose instead to lean into our grief.

We are called to interrupt social norms that designate some species and peoples as disposable and to instead make life choices that promote climate justice. In this week of fire—an element of immediacy and urgency, whose spirit is considered both creator and destroyer of life—let us embrace our grief so that we might deepen the work of transformation.

Let us be bold truth tellers and passionate grievers, together.

Commit2Respond’s Climate Justice Month intends to take you through a transformative spiritual process leading to long-term commitments to climate justice. At the end of the month you will be asked to SHIFT to a low carbon future, ADVANCE human rights, and GROW the movement. Learn more and start thinking about how you will #commit2respond to climate change.

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Commit2Respond Day 6: Our Creation Story Speaks of Climate Change

In support of the 30 Days of Love/Commit2Respond – Climate Justice

Day 6

Long ago, the Great Spirit looked for a home for people, the Anishinaabeg (Ojibwe), and for all they would ever need. Out of nothing, that All Loving Spirit created the universe and solar system, including Mother Earth. When She was a cold, lifeless rock, the All Loving Spirit blew life into Her, causing Her to spin and support life.

From that time on, the All Loving Spirit sent spirit helpers to help get Earth ready for Anishinaabeg. Many parts of our Creation Story tell of the deeds accomplished by these spirit helpers. Ojibwe pre-Christian spirituality’s belief is in a singular Higher Power and many smaller spirits. It is with the smaller Spirits that much of the day to day spiritual work gets done. These smaller Spirits brought the gifts that make life possible, though all the gifts originate with the Great Spirit.

When Anishinaabe got here, they were given instructions to live by, including Honesty, Respect, Wisdom, Love, Humility, Bravery, and Truth. For thousands of generations, the Anishinaabeg kept it going.

At different times throughout the creation story, there are times of great change. There is mention of visitors coming to our homeland. More recently, Elders have spoken of a fire that will take many gifts of the creation from us. Early on, many thought it was nuclear weapons, others spoke of pollution. Others spoke of the life-giving ceremonial fire that has brought us through good times and bad, and of corruption of that life-giving fire. The Elders, and more, now realize our creation story was speaking of climate change.

The plants are confused, the animals are confused, the Anishinaabeg life ways are becoming increasingly endangered. There are no easy answers for any of this. Perhaps that time of great change is upon us.

Robert Shimek RRI is the Executive Director of the White Earth Land Recovery Project.

Today’s practice is to participate in Earth Hour, a global event of switching off all lights for one hour to focus attention on climate change (check out the inspiring official video). Earth Hour is TONIGHT from 8:30-9:30pm local time. Use the Earth Hour tracker to find an event near you or add your own to the map.

Today’s resource for deepening this message is the White Earth Land Recovery Project, an organization founded by Winona LaDuke that aims to reclaim the original land base of the White Earth Indian Reservation and preserve original land practices and stewardship. Explore their website and Native Harvest, their online store.

p.s. If you are not American Indian or First Nations, educate yourself and your loved ones about how Indigenous peoples around the globe are at the frontlines of climate change and are leading struggles for climate justice. Two great places to start are the Indigenous Environmental Network and Idle No More.

Commit2Respond’s Climate Justice Month intends to take you through a transformative spiritual process leading to long-term commitments to climate justice. At the end of the month you will be asked to SHIFT to a low carbon future, ADVANCE human rights, and GROW the movement. Learn more and start thinking about how you will #commit2respond to climate change.

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Commit2Respond Day 5: The Pond

In support of the 30 Days of Love/Commit2Respond – Climate Justice

Day 5

I live in the woods on a pond with my husband and young son and two dogs and dozens of other species above and below and all around us.

More than 100 years ago, a group of wealthy white men started a pit mine in these ancient woods. They dug for months, pulling stones rich in iron ore out of vulnerable Earth. Once they left, our Mother began to heal herself, to transform destruction into an opportunity for life-giving, filling the vacant space with rain. With the water came the deer who drink and the turtles who swim and the groundhogs who dig and the birds who hunt. There are fish in our pond now and wild blue heron who stand as still as the ancient trees who have survived too many violations, the trees who bear witness to the fragility and the regeneration of the forest.

And in the woods is my family, living gently on the edge of the pond, grateful to Earth that we can be part of this living body and knowing our job now is to be lovers and fierce protectors of all the life that blossoms here.

As we enter Climate Justice Month, may we all be lovers and protectors of life.

Rev. Peggy Clarke is the Minister at the First Unitarian Society of Westchester in Hastings, NY. She is also the Racial and Social Justice Consultant for the UUA Metro New York District and on the Steering Committees for the Green Sanctuary Program, UU Environmental Justice Collaboratory, and Commit2Respond, as well as the chair of Food Justice Ministry. She is also a Senior GreenFaith Fellow.

Today’s practice is to talk with a loved one about how you are a lover and protector of the Earth, or share on the Commit2Respond Facebook page or elsewhere on social media using the hashtag #commit2respond how you have acted to love and protect the Earth.

Today’s resource for deepening this message are two powerful short videos from Sustainable Human that show how wolves and whales, respectively, are “ecosystem engineers.” Rejoice in the truly awesome power of all creation’s interdependence as breathtakingly showcased by the Earth’s ecosystems: “Wolves Change Rivers” and “How Whales Change Climate.

Commit2Respond’s Climate Justice Month intends to take you through a transformative spiritual process leading to long-term commitments to climate justice. At the end of the month you will be asked to SHIFT to a low carbon future, ADVANCE human rights, and GROW the movement. Learn more and start thinking about how you will #commit2respond to climate change.

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UUFSD Directory Photos

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Every Sunday – 10:00 – 11:00 AM

Steve Bartram will be taking “Passport” type photos that will go into the UUFSD Directory. Simple black and white, no frills, smiles only pictures. There will be a camera on a tripod and an “X” for you to stand on. No children, just adults.

Here is a sample of our own Vicky Newman:

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Commit2Respond Day 4: The Common Good

In support of the 30 Days of Love/Commit2Respond – Climate Justice

Day 4

We breathe the common wind of the earth
no matter where we live, who we love,
what language we speak.

We drink the common water of the earth
no matter our skin color, how long we live,
the coverings we drape on our forms.

We follow the common paths of the earth
no matter our beliefs, how far we move from home,
the gold that we carry, or its lack.

May we live from these truths:
our hearts open to the holiness all around us,
and our hands turned always toward the common good.

Rev. Kathleen McTigue is the Director of the UU College of Social Justice and serves on the Commit2Respond Steering Committee.

Today’s practice is to reflect on what “the common good” means to you as a person of faith and/or conscience. How are you called by your beliefs or by that which is greater than yourself to act on the common good, and what does that call require of you?

Today’s resource for deepening this message is the brief history of environmental justice recounted by the UU Environmental Justice Collaboratory on their new website. “Environmental justice” is a specific framework for working for change, grounded in “the common good.” Learn more from Robert Bullard in the 3-minute video “The Genesis of Environmental Justice.”

Commit2Respond’s Climate Justice Month intends to take you through a transformative spiritual process leading to long-term commitments to climate justice. At the end of the month you will be asked to SHIFT to a low carbon future, ADVANCE human rights, and GROW the movement. Learn more and start thinking about how you will #commit2respond to climate change.

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Commit2Respond Goals & Events

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In 2015, UUs everywhere are being asked to be a part of Commit2Respond:
an initiative focused on climate change and climate justice.

Commit2Respond was inspired in large part by the success of Thirty Days of Love, and the question: What if we can bring together the UUSC, UUA, and UUs all over the country to work on one justice issue?

The goals of Commit2Respond are to:

1. Shift to a low carbon future.
2. Advance the human rights of affected communities;
3. grow the climate justice movement.

UUFSD will be joining C2R with a month of services, forums and events designed to educate, inspire and ultimately, act. Following is a list of planned activities.

  • March 22: “Have you Heard the Good News about Climate Change?“
  • March 29: How to Ignite a Movement — Great Lessons from great Leaders … Forum after service: The Science of “Climate Change and the Art of Citizen Response” – Dr. Lynne Talley and Marshall Saunders
  • April 12: Congregational Voices on Climate Change — 3 or 4 short talks on climate change from members of the Fellowship. Special Forum, 12:15 PM in Fellowship Hall The Climate Change Crisis and How We Can Solve It Together. Philip Petrie and Dwain Deets 350.org
  • April 13: Book Club is reading “The Sixth Extinction” by Elizabeth Kolbert
  • April 19: Voices from Affected … A moving service that reveals how climate change is hurting people already, told in their own words.
  • April 19: Save Your Life, Save the World: With a little help, design a sustainable dish that is kinder to the planet and better for you, then share it with each other. 5:30 PM

CJM-fb-iconDuring 30 Days of Commit2Respond you can share your goals, actions, and prayers for climate justice by posting to the Climate Action Board. You can view the board in Founder’s Hall from March 22 to April 22.

Events may be added and dates may change as we get closer – stay tuned.