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LEADER RESOURCE 1: The Destiny of Diversity

Excerpted from a sermon by Rev. Fred Small, delivered at First Parish in Cambridge, Massachusetts on December 6, 2009; used with permission.

Diversity is the destiny of our world, and if Unitarian Universalism is to survive and thrive, it must be our destiny, too. We can be an island of whiteness in a river of many colors and cultures, or we can plunge into the living water and partake of its liberating power.

If we shrink back, warns my colleague Rev. Dr. Paul Rasor, "We could devolve into a quaint relic of a once-vital tradition, holding fast to our good liberal ideas (while continuing to bicker about them), protecting an increasingly insular identity, ironically slipping into the kind of safe and unchallenging provincialism we have always resisted."

But if we take the leap into the river of diversity, we could become what sociologist Michael Emerson calls "Sixth Americans,"... people who live in a world rich in daily interactions with people not like themselves. They cultivate relationships with those of different backgrounds and cultures and become conversant and increasingly comfortable in those relationships. And they seek out religious communities in which these relationships thrive, thereby enriching their lives and nourishing their souls...

Let's stop wishing for Beloved Community and start dreaming it, planning it, seeing it, living it, until we wake up one astonishing blessed morning to find the dream come true.

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Last updated on Saturday, December 10, 2011.

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