No One is an Island

by Rev. Audette Fulbright
published on May 10, 2014
Wyoming Tribune Eagle

NoManIsAnIsland

(“No man is an island” was the title chosen by the newspaper for this editorial. While an accurate nod to the John Donne I reference, I prefer more inclusive language.)

As a Unitarian Universalist minister, I am in exceptionally good company on both the lay and professional sides. One of my professional colleagues is the Rev. Tom Schade, a retired UU minister who, post retirement, is spending his days now as an “Opinionater at Large.” What he’s really doing is stirring the pot of religious liberalism, in the very best ways. Recently, among a series of posts about the purpose and mission of liberal religion, he said: “Systems of social domination and subordination have existed as far back into human history as we can see. Humanity is not fallen, but rising, developing new ways of being together that are more fair and just. Liberal thinking, then, is systemic, not personal. We will rise together as we fashion new ways of being together. Everyone is embedded in a network of mutuality; everything, and everyone, is being shaped and conditioned by everything and everyone else. We know that we cannot isolate evil into one person or group. Our view of persons are that each has dignity and is worthy of respect, and that are all interconnected, such that their actions and attitudes are mutually dependent.”

Given that I profoundly agree with this thesis, what arises next for me is this: In light of this truth, how am I called to serve this mission in Cheyenne, Wyoming?

As a Unitarian Universalist living in a place that has an embedded identity as rugged individualists who go it alone, do it their way, and all too often, suffer in silence, I feel called to speak often of the healing power of love in relationship. Relationship with God and the holy as we understand it; and love in deep relationship with other flawed, hopeful, and struggling people. We are all a part of something larger than ourselves, and none of us can survive long as an island – we are all a part of the main.

In a community where suicide and addiction are among the highest in the nation, this message could not be more essential. Therefore, I urge everyone to find a community – my personal recommendation is to find a church community where you feel profoundly welcomed in your wholeness. As a minister, I’m biased in that direction, of course. And if you’re looking for a church home that welcomes the young and the old, LGBT and questioning people, people with more questions than answers, or those who love a really great potluck, then join us some Sunday at 10:30 am at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Cheyenne. Nurture your spirit – help heal the world.

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