As I write, I am on the Monterey peninsula in California mid-way through the “Institute for Excellence in Ministry.” From where I sit, I can see the Pacific Ocean and a good number of the nearly 400 other Unitarian Universalist Ministers who have gathered for these 5 days of worship, workshops, and fellowship.
A major theme for the week is transformation. There has been some conversation about whether we mean transformation with a little “t” or Transformation with a big “T.” Are we looking to be nudged along our path or are we looking to turn our world upside down? Interesting question!
My guess is that different people are open to different T/transformations at different times. In theory, we all know that personal growth is a good thing. In practice, we may not feel up for yet another growth opportunity today. When we think back on the events in our past that have changed our lives, how many of us would have entered them willingly if we knew ahead of time that “the world would never be the same again?”
One thing that keeps coming to my mind is a little something from the Congregational Packet that the 1U Search Committee put together during their recent search. It is two lists of four words each.
The first list is the four words the congregation chose to describe themselves now. Welcoming, Caring, Inspirational and Liberal.
The second list is the four words the congregation wants to describe themselves in the future.
Inspirational, Transformative, Vibrant and Committed.
Every time I hear the word transformation at this gathering, I think of those two lists.
It seems to me that the first list invites us to accept people as they are and to help them accept themselves – to know that they are good enough and whole enough. This is important work. I hope this will always be a part of who we are.
The second list seems to me to be the exciting next step. It invites the possibilities of life – the something more that is waiting to happen – in our individual lives, in our community, in our world. It is about living fully into our potential.
What I hope to come home with is a fuller understanding of how to help 1U grow into its full potential as a community that offers both of these blessings – the blessing of deep acceptance and the blessing of life-altering transformation – the blessing of both roots and wings.