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Minister's Corner

Minister's Corner: Ongoing Reconstruction

UnderReconstructionRev. Dr. William Barber is an imposing presence, a large man with a deep voice who walks the talk and leads by example. UUs around the world will read his book, The Third Reconstruction: Moral Mondays, Fusion Politics, and the Rise of a New Justice Movement. To keep up with them, we will present programming based on Rev. Barber’s book this month.

The book recounts the multi-layered story of “fusion politics” and its unlikely coalition of disparate social justice groups all working to save the soul of America. The key utensil in Barber’s toolkit is something he calls “Moral Mondays,” a nonviolent civil disobedience campaign of protests, rallies, and arrests that began in Barber’s home state of North Carolina but has been adapted in other states, including Florida.

Moral Monday groups show up at local, state, and national government offices to protest and advocate and change the minds and votes of politicians of many stripes. Those multi-faith, multi-racial gatherings have often included what previously might have been considered strange bedfellows: immigrants, union members, Appalachian workers, progressive people from many faiths or from no faith at all. Barber believes these gatherings could be a model for all of us who are committed to racial and economic justice, if only we’re willing to come together across traditional boundaries to work together for some common good.

Rev. Barber freely shares the hard-won wisdom he and his fellow travelers have amassed over the many years of the struggle, including the central importance of affording voting-rights protection to traditionally marginalized people. Barber is no pie-in-the-sky dreamer, though: he is a realist who recognizes a necessary symbiosis between realism and faith. He knows that faith - his or ours - cannot simply stand by complacently as injustice accumulates. Being grounded in a faith as well as being realistic, he says, demands that “we hold on to faith as we take care of one another along the way.”

Barber speaks forcefully and passionately about where we are, about where we’ve been, and about where we need to go together. The critique I’ve heard most frequently within UUism is that he speaks in an overtly Christian idiom, making it difficult for some UUs to stay in the conversation.

Please take the opportunity to join the conversation this month as we engage Dr. Barber’s ideas together. I hope you’ll find a way to interpret and translate his important work for yourself, for if we don’t find ways to transcend our previously-held boundaries of faith and language, these next few years are going to be very difficult indeed.

See you in church,