It's Hard Work

People stand with linked arms at a nighttime protest.
For just as the body without the spirit is dead, faith without works is also dead.
—James 2:26

Why are we still talking about inclusivity and diversity when we have done so little to make them real? Why are we still looking pained about the lack of diversity in the denomination? Because diversity, inclusivity, is terribly hard, terribly uncomfortable, definitely unsettling, and often quite frustrating.

What I know about being inclusive—crossing from culture to culture, learning the language of diversity—is that it’s the work of a lifetime. It’s hard to accept people who are not like you, who don’t talk the way you do, or believe the things you believe, or dress or vote as you do. It’s even harder to appreciate them for the things about them that are not like you, to find them interesting and fun, to enjoy the learning that’s part of the experience, and to acknowledge, finally, that you may have to agree to disagree.

The truth is this: If there is no justice, there will be no peace. We can read Thoreau and Emerson to one another, quote Rilke and Alice Walker and Howard Thurman, and think good and noble thoughts about ourselves. But if we cannot bring justice into the small circle of our own individual lives, we cannot hope to bring justice to the world. And if we do not bring justice to the world, none of us is safe and none of us will survive. Nothing that Unitarian Universalists need to do is more important than making justice real—here, where we are. Hard as diversity is, it is our most important task.