4450 Fieldston Rd
Bronx, NY 10471
Whether you’re a brand new visitor for the first time or have been a member at this Ethical Culture community for a long time, this Sunday is an opportunity to think about both respecting our core and expanding our boundaries. In this morning’s colloquy*, we’ll muse together: What practices, attitudes and values are at the heart of our community? Which practices, values and attitudes can we expand, question or change to make our community more open? How do we become truly open to all who have a similar (com)passionate commitment to human worth and human connection? How do we include not just those who are our age, like the same music, look like us, think just like we do. (After all, as Felix Adler suggested in more words and Victorian language, if we all already think alike here, how will we be challenged to learn and grow?) Led by Leader Jone Johnson Lewis.
From the beginning, Ethical Culture Societies thought of themselves as unified primarily by a commitment to live ethically — live in a way that recognizes the worth in every person, including ourselves, including those unlike us. Yet a natural human tendency is to associate with people who are like us in some way. Including having similar beliefs — about life, about politics — or who come from a similar cultural background, and have similar understandings about customs, even what words mean.
In a book about congregational growth called Radical Hospitality, the authors say:
To become a vibrant, fruitful, growing congregation requires a change of attitudes, practices, and values. Good intentions are not enough. Too many [congregations] want more young people as long as they act like old people, more newcomers as long as they act like old-timers, more children as long as they are as quiet as adults, more ethnic families as long as they act like the majority in the congregation.
*Colloquy is our name for a participative reflection circle, with some structure provided by the facilitator, including opportunities to speak, to listen and to reflect individually.