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Wholly Unitarian Universalistis our program theme for 2014-15.  Let's dig into our tradition and values. Let's find what is supportive and joyful as UUs.  A little bit of our history will be sprinkled in along the way as we appreciate our forebears who cast great and lasting shadows.  All the while, we'll be improving the exterior campus, creating parking, and beautifying grounds.

 Remember the Congregational Meeting, Sunday, Sept. 7:We are not voting on any tree or specific color in our design, but we need to start on the infrastructure drawings, the drainage, and parking allocations.  Much of the early work will not be visible to the eye.  Your church leadership seeks authorization from the congregation to spend Great Expectations funds to go the next step –secure drawings. Eventually, we'll be returning to the congregation with bids and another vote to begin construction of our long-awaited parking lot.

 Vigil and Rally for Justice and Nonviolence, Sunday, Sept. 28, place and time yet to be determined.  Michael Brown's death in Ferguson, MO, touched a nerve throughout our nation.  We are neither the judge nor the jury, but Brown's death raised national issues of white privilege, the militarization of police, the vulnerability and anger of young African American men in our society, trust of government, and the Bill of Rights. This list is not comprehensive, but we have in mind an action for understanding and nonviolence.  Watch for details.

 Tolerance is not a wimpy word: I am unwilling to jettison the idea of tolerance.  I often feel I am alone in this conviction.  I've heard all kinds of substitutes –respect, acceptance—and I find that those words lack the depth of what tolerance meant to our Unitarian forebears.  I think I have heard from those who find tolerance lacking.  I, too, dislike the passive stance of forbearance.  If tolerance means tolerating rising humidity when the AC is out or putting up with some relative who perennially spouts his annoying ideology at the holiday dinner table, then, no wonder, tolerance has a bad rep.  The despisers of sexual minorities were among the first to denigrate the word tolerance.  The rest of our culture seems to have gone along with that denigration.  Here's my take on tolerance, informed by the early Unitarians of Transylvanians of nearly 500 years ago:  Tolerance, narrowly conceived is a wimpy word.   But tolerance, broadly understood, is not a word to be abandoned because tolerance means more than acceptance or grudging forbearance. What should we do, for example, when we cannot love our neighbor?  What do we do when we cannot accept our neighbor or when we actually dislike our neighbor?  Tolerance is a moral category and not, I submit, a wimp word.  When broadly defined and understood, it is a moral concept and was critical in Eastern Europe in the 16th century among several disagreeing religious groups.  Unitarian King John Sigismund decreed the Edict of Torda in 1568.  People living within the realm were to live under the law of tolerance and not revile, abuse, or kill disagreeing neighbors and citizens.  OK, we should love one another.

 

But active tolerance means engagement at the level of doing no harm when we dislike our neighbor, cannot love, or do not love our neighbor.  Apparently, I am among the few who feel that tolerance has been sadly and narrowly defined and should be retrieved for its rich historical meanings and behaviors.  It is nice when we all love or like one another, but what ethical principle should guide us when we do not?  Active tolerance offers a historically rich, moral concept for our time.  First, do no harm.