The Blazing Barn

The farm is on fire.  Smoke rises from the fields; sparks alight on the house; and the barn is ablaze.  Some people carry buckets of water.  Others try to free animals trapped behind walls.  Still others gather valuables from the house to prevent destruction.  The remainder stand frozen, not knowing what to do, and fearing that nothing they do will make a difference.

Since the election of the current President, our nation has burned with the fires of hate, greed, privilege, cruelty, and selfishness.  Our social justice organizations exhaust every bit of money, time, and energy available and nothing seems helpful.  Many of us experience depression and trauma over our inability to stop the destruction and help those most in peril.

What is the solution?  First, we must all agree that the barn is indeed ablaze.  We no longer possess the luxury of time to develop legislation and to nudge along the slow machinery of social evolution.  We must agree that change must happen now and that we all have roles to play.

Second, we must not allow the flames to divide our forces.  If one group tries to save the corn, another the tractor, another the horses, and another the building itself, we will all fail.  No one group possesses the needed resources to eliminate the threats before it.  We must work together to save the entire farm, or we will all perish in its ashes.

Third, we must embrace new forms of firefighting.  As we struggle to extinguish the flames and rescue threatened resources, we must also attack the root cause of the flames.  What good is putting out this fire if our farm remains vulnerable?

Our nation is on fire.  As Unitarian Universalists, what can we do to respond to the danger?  First, we must embrace education about issues and quickly move toward accepting our complicity in the current situation.  Reading the right books no longer suffices for church members to successfully engage in social justice work.  We must acknowledge the roles we and our ancestors played in creating our present country, accept those facts, and then change ourselves into better people of faith.

As a religious community, we must unite in our common ideals to fight all injustice together as one.  Love can only defeat bigotry and violence when people join together in an army of compassion.  Every issue facing us as a people today affects us all.  If we allow marginalized people to suffer, we too will suffer.

And we must set aside traditional boundaries and create new structures to address the array of intersectional issues troubling the waters today.  We must share resources, let go of outmoded titles and organization, and embrace the strength of more organic, more responsive structures of social justice.

When we transform ourselves, and unite in new models of cooperation, we will lay the groundwork for a fireproof farm.  We will plant the seeds of Beloved Community that can repel the pestilence of tyrants and oligarchs.  And we will rebuild our faith in each other as brothers and sisters , one family, regardless of skin color, gender identity, ability, age, or belief.