the OUUC spark
January 12, 2023
Power: a Faith in Action Perspective - Rev Sara Lewis
Our theme for the month of January is “Power”, which I find to be a very compelling theme from both a faith development and a faith in action perspective. Power is defined very simply, as the ability to do something or act in a certain way. To have power is just to have the ability to get stuff done. In this sense, power is neutral from a moral perspective, since it can be used for either getting good or bad stuff done.
Now the question is how do we use our power? Do we understand how much power we have, and do we use that power for good? As we can learn from Spiderman, “with great power comes great responsibility”. For those of us with some level of privilege and power, we have a responsibility to use it well. And that brings up the other issue, namely that not everyone is equally empowered in our society. Some identities carry greater power, while others are more marginalized. I believe this also means that one of our responsibilities is to help redistribute power so the marginalized are more empowered.
As we dive into this theme together, here is some helpful personal reflection to begin with:
What is your relationship to power? Do some of the identities that you carry have more power in our society, and do some of the identities that you carry have less? Explore this question with the Wheel of Privilege and Power and with this Power Flower tool.
Recognizing where you hold power, what can you do with that power to uplift others and to be an ally? How can you put your faith into action and exercise that power to “get stuff done” for the good of the world?
And then there’s another aspect of power for us to consider. What if we don’t, by ourselves, have enough power? Most of us cannot change things drastically in this world all by ourselves. And in the face of giant problems and wrongs in this world (climate change, racism, to name a few of many) we can all feel helpless.
What would you like to see changed but you don’t have the power to change by yourself?
How can you contribute toward that change anyway? What something-larger-than-yourself could have the power to make change?
I wrestle with these questions myself on a regular basis. It’s hard to discern it all, because on the one hand I have a lot of power and on the other hand I’m totally helpless to change the world. And so it is a dance, leaning into power and responsibility, then swaying and working with helplessness and despair, and back again. And over and over again I ask myself “what is mine to do right now? What little bit of contribution can I make?” If we all do our little bit, what do we ultimately have the power to accomplish, together?
We can do this dance together. Together, power and responsibility. Together, faith in action. Together.
(want to take a practical step right now? Join the Faith in Action Alert List to receive calls to action. Just let me or Darlene know that you want to be on the list.)
Announcing Our New Children’s Equity Library
And here’s a fun new faith in action initiative, brought to us by Jo Ann Young: a Children’s Equity Library at OUUC. This little library will hold books for children, youth, and even some for adults that explore the themes of our faith in action ministries: economic justice, environmental justice, and anti-racism, diversity, and anti-oppression.
A library is a wonderful way to empower, bringing knowledge and learning to everyone and making them as accessible as possible. This library will be available to anyone in the community, and open on Sunday mornings and Thursday evenings. The library is on a cart in the hallway across from Rev Mary’s office (near the water fountains).
Come and check it (and maybe a book!) out!
Guest At Your Table
This month we are inviting everyone at OUUC to participate in Guest at Your Table, a fundraiser for the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee.
Learn more about the work of the UUSC here:
Pick up Guest at Your Table boxes and donation envelopes in the Commons this month, or donate online: Donate to Classy - Guest at Your Table (uusc.org)
If you don’t mind letting Rev. Sara know how much you donated, it is always nice to track our overall giving.