UUA Publications Update for August 2018
- Revisiting the Empowerment Controversy: Black Power and Unitarian Universalism
Mark D. Morrison-Reed, the preeminent scholar of black Unitarian Universalist history, presents this long-awaited chronicle and analysis of the events of the Empowerment Controversy, which rocked Unitarian Universalism in the late sixties and continues to reverberate. It was a time of revolution, of the Civil Rights and Black Power movements. Like the country, the young Unitarian Universalist Association was forced to reckon with demands for change and found itself fractured by conflict about the implications of a commitment to racial justice. Morrison-Reed synthesizes decades of research and extensive interviews to present a nuanced and suspense-filled drama about Unitarian Universalism’s great crisis of faith. As he writes, “Perhaps wisdom can be gleaned from the pain and upheaval of those years, a wisdom that will be of use today in a new era.” Revisiting the Empowerment Controversy is the last book in a historical arc Morrison-Reed has traced since the publication of Black Pioneers in a White Denomination.
Mark D. Morrison Reed is the author and editor of several other books, including Black Pioneers in a White Denomination, Darkening the Doorways: Black Trailblazers and Missed Opportunities in Unitarian Universalism, and The Selma Awakening: How the Civil Rights Movement Tested and Changed Unitarian Universalism, all from Skinner House Books. He has served as co-minister of Unitarian Universalist congregations in Toronto and Rochester, New York, and as an affiliated faculty member at Meadville Lombard Theological School and the coordinator of the Sankofa Archive there.
- Love Like Thunder: Meditations
In Love Like Thunder, the 2018 volume of the inSpirit series, a vibrant new poetic voice invites us into an intimate relationship with nature, God, and love itself. Jess Reynolds weeps in the desert at night, meditates on heart emojis, lets a river of love run wildly in their body, and together with their partner God goes to couples counseling to find their way. Jess Reynolds' lyric poetry flows like water between genders, between body and spirit, and between earth and sky.
Jess Reynolds is a Sacramento-based writer who has been involved in their local congregation, the Unitarian Universalist Society of Sacramento, since they moved to the West Coast in 2015. Outside of writing, they enjoy choral singing, rock climbing, and swing dancing.
Other recent titles in the inSpirit Series:
- To Wake, To Rise: Meditations on Justice and Resilience, edited by William G. Sinkford—An anthology of poems, prayers, and reflections about resisting oppression and keeping the faith in social action work.
- Love Beyond God: Meditations by Adam Lawrence Dyer—This timely collection of poems explores faith, race, love, identity, and more, and invites us to think deeply about our place and role in contemporary society.
- A Long Time Blooming: Meditations by Marta I. Valentín—The author reflects on the spiritual dimensions of her intersecting identities as a Latina, lesbian, feminist, God-praising Unitarian Universalist minister.
Announcements and Resources
2018-2019 UUA Common Read Announced!
A Common Read invites participants to read and discuss the same book in a given period of time. It can build community in our congregations and our movement by giving diverse people a shared experience, shared language, and a basis for deep, meaningful conversations. The 2018-2019 UUA Common Read is Justice on Earth: People of Faith Working at the Intersections of Race, Class, and the Environment, edited by Manish Mishra-Marzetti and Jennifer Nordstrom.
This highly anticipated anthology presents a powerful and penetrating look at environmental justice from some of the key thinkers and activists in Unitarian Universalism today. Fourteen activist ministers and lay leaders apply a keen intersectional analysis to the environmental crisis, revealing ways that systems of oppression intersect with and contribute to ecological devastation.
Stay tuned for more information about this year’s Common Read and how you and your UU community can participate. Check out the UUA Common Read.
Recommended for the New Church Year!
Enhancing the quality of congregational life doesn't always require huge outlays of time and treasure. There are many ways we can "upcycle" the things we already do in our churches, with resources we already have. In Upcycle Your Congregation, Unitarian Universalist leaders in the field show creative ways to transform the main ingredients of our congregations into something relevant, innovative, and new.
“You don't have to start from scratch to bring vitality to your congregation. You don't have to take it all on at once. There are simple, yet profound ways you can use the riches you already have around you to create fun, relevance, vitality, and beauty in your religious community."
—from the Introduction by Sarah Lammert
August's Justice and Spirit Goodreads Book Club Pick!
August's Justice and Spirit Goodreads Book Club pick is The Heritage: Black Athletes, a Divided America, and the Politics of Patriotism by Howard Bryant (Beacon Press). For Black athletes, sports and politics have always been intertwined. Their very presence on the field is a political act. Some athletes have used their status and influence to speak out against racial injustice; others have remained silent. From legends like Paul Robeson and Jackie Robinson to current icons like Colin Kaepernick and LeBron James, the heritage of Black activism within sports is deep and complex. Journalist Howard Bryant details it in full in The Heritage. Bryant explores the debate over “political” messaging, the optics of patriotism, and the long-standing race and class resentments that target Black athletes. The Heritage documents this history of now and how we got here.