Common Reads 2017- 18: Centering and Daring Democracy

side by side covers of the two 2017-18 Common Read selections: Daring Democracy and Centering

The challenges, the call, and the opportunity of this moment in Unitarian Universalism and in the broader US American society are compelling. Unitarian Universalists must be prepared and willing to look inward, examining, exploring, and acting to dismantle white supremacy culture in our association, in our congregations and groups, and in ourselves. At the same time, we must be prepared and willing to look outward and act to lift up Unitarian Universalist values in the political and civic challenges of our time. After much deliberation, the Common Read Selection Committee chose two books for the year’s Common Read:

  1. Centering: Navigating Race, Authenticity, and Power in Ministry, edited by Mitra Rahnema (Skinner House, 2017), centers the stories, analyses, and insights of a number of Unitarian Universalist religious professionals of color as they explore how racial identity is made both visible and invisible in Unitarian Universalist communities.
  2. Daring Democracy: Igniting Power, Meaning, and Connection for the America We Want, by Frances Moore Lappé and Adam Eichen, (Beacon Press, 2017) lifts up the importance of democracy itself. It examines the anti-democracy movement that has led to the Trump presidency, then offers a vision and call to action to save our democracy and to take our civic life to a place it has never been.

Centering offers help with the inner work of today’s Unitarian Universalism; Daring Democracy provides a vision and practical guidance for advancing our justice-making work in the public square. We invite you to make time to read both, and to work with others to organize discussion groups in your UU community.

Congregations, groups, and individuals may purchase both books from inSpirit: UU Book and Gift Shop; bulk discounts are available. Both are also available as ebooks.

The 2017-18 Common Read selections each have a discussion guide with plans for facilitating a single-session group as well as a three-session, more-in depth series for Unitarian Universalist faith communities.

Download the discussion guide for Centering (PDF, 28 pages).

Download the discussion guide for Daring Democracy (PDF, 31 pages).

Optional slides (PowerPoint file) are available for each discussion guide for those who prefer to project questions and prompts than to write them on newsprint. Download questions and prompts slides for Centering (Powerpoint). Download questions and prompts slides for Daring Democracy (Powerpoint).

Centering Navigating Race, Authenticity, and Power in Ministry

By Mitra Rahnema

From Skinner House Books

The 2017-18 UUA Common Read A joint project of the Committee for Antiracism, Anti-oppression, and Multiculturalism of the UUMA and Skinner House Books, Centering is the first book to center the stories, analysis, and insight of Unitarian Universalists of color offering their religious leadership.

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Daring Democracy Igniting Power, Meaning, and Connection for the America We Want

By Frances Moore Lappe, Adam Eichen

From Beacon Press

The 2017-18 UUA Common Read An optimistic book for Americans who are asking, in the wake of Trump’s victory, What do we do now? The answer: We need to organize and fight to protect and expand our democracy.

Buy This Book

Unitarian Universalist “Common Read”

A Common Read invites participants to read and discuss the same book in a given period of time. The UU Common Read 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. Common Read...

Common Read

Centering in Common Read

From Institutional Change

To Our Congregations: This year, for the first time, the Unitarian Universalist Association has two choices for its annual “Common Read,” a book selection designed to be read and then shared and discussed at the congregational level. One of those books is UUs of Color: Stories of Struggle,...

Centering in Common Read

Daring Democracy Author Event 9/20/2017

Frances Moore Lappé and Adam Eichen discuss their book, Daring Democracy