What Does It Mean to Be a Community of Healing?
Many people who come to an Ethical Culture Society come from an experience of another religion. They sometimes leave because their old faith isn’t big enough for their new ideas, or because the old faith didn’t accept them as who they are, or because they came to understand some of the practices of that faith as abusive or hurtful, or because their old faith wasn’t shared by their new partner in life, or because they just no longer feel they belong there. And some come without any experience of something like a religion, and want to find a community for themselves, and perhaps their children, to find a community of like-hearted people.
An Ethical Culture Society can be a place where we are all challenged to be the best people we can be, and to have relationships where we act to elicit the best from others. Sometimes, with that challenge, we also need healing from past hurts. When we get a cut to our arm, a physical hurt, our bodies have a way to heal that wound that is automatic; we don’t have to think about it. But emotional healing requires conscious effort. And when we cause emotional harm to another – whether intentional or not – we also need to consciously work to acknowledge, heal, and repair the harm. Another function of an Ethical Culture Society is as a place to learn and practice to heal and repair our relationships.
There are many aims and goals of an Ethical Culture Society: being a community of healing is one of those. I invite you in this month of October to consider what healing you need and what support you might find in community, and to consider how you might help in the healing of others around you, both in your interpersonal relationships and in the wider world. How can we not only recognize but heal racial injustice? The harm we are doing as people to the earth and to the humans and other living beings on the earth? To those who go to bed hungry in our city, nation, and world? To those who fear the war and violence around them?
I want to call special attention to our program on October 9, when Wen Stephenson will come and talk about his important book on how we find the motivation to work for human rights through climate justice, beginning with getting in touch with the despair we sometimes feel around how difficult it is to confront the political and economic systems which are currently barriers to change. We’ll also have heart-moving music that morning from the singer DuPree and, on guitar, Barry Kornhauser. (DuPree has been an artist-in-residence this year for the Brooklyn Society for Ethical Culture.) This is a Sunday not to miss.