Located in Alabama, near the home of the Civil Rights Institute, is the beautiful mountain crested sanctuary of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Birmingham, a church with a proud history of uncountable contributions to the promotion of racial equality in the South. Nestled in the woods, it is surrounded by patios with full gardens and a scrolled gateway, welcoming even in the stark of winter.
On my visit, the Rev. Lone J. Broussard spoke about “Our Blue Boat Home.” Although the song of the same name (by folk singer Peter Mayer) is familiar to most Unitarians, Rev. Broussard stressed the need for our faith to overcome our “compassion fatigue” as related to the ongoing issues of global warming, and to humankind’s limitless reaping of the earth’s bounty without regard to her future. While requesting such a task, she also explained how the possibility of self-sufficiency has been achieved by many, including the Danish Isle of Samsø, a model for eco-friendly living as well as progressive example to us all.
Metaphorically speaking, she went on to describe the “elephant in the room” that sits and makes himself at home, eventually wandering off when ignored, well expressing our own convictions as they come and go with whatever happens to be the ‘popular’ cause of the day. Yes we need improved gun regulations, and yes we need to be concerned with equal rights, and yes we need an end to war–but what are these issues without a home for humankind and the abundance of life that we share our earth with?
In ending, Rev. Broussard asked the old question, “How do you eat an elephant?” (Of course, the answer is one bite at a time!) However, I would love to now ask that we all invite Mr. and Ms. Elephant into our homes for tea, questioning them in detail, inquiring, drilling and finding our compassion once again within their stories.
To learn more about the UUC of Birmingham: http://www.uucbham.org/
For information on the Isle of Samsø: http://www.visitsamsoe.dk/en/
Peter Mayer’s website: http://www.petermayer.net/news/
To hear Peter Mayer’s “Blue Boat Home”: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YtZUM0JhLvc&list=PLD5C3A9F3B5204E83