Our Beloved Community

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shaktinah
Our Beloved Community

OK, I've been thinking about this ever since I had trouble finding writings/sermons about the Beloved Community online. I don't know about you guys but this is a term that I have heard used a lot in UU circles, yet there is very little said about what the Beloved Community is (and is not). I've heard it used so many times as our goal, "working towards the Beloved Community" that I started to sarcastically refer to it as "UU Heaven." Sounds great in theory but it will never work in practice. Then I found this web site that describes the Beloved Community as Dr. King envisioned it:

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“The Beloved Community” is a term that was first coined in the early days of the 20th century by the philosopher-theologian Josiah Royce, who founded the Fellowship of Reconciliation. However, it was Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., also a member of the Fellowship of Reconciliation, who popularized the term and invested it with a deeper meaning which has captured the imagination of people of good will all over the world.

For Dr. King, The Beloved Community was not a lofty utopian goal to be confused with the rapturous image of the Peaceable Kingdom, in which lions and lambs coexist in idyllic harmony. Rather, The Beloved Community was for him a realistic, achievable goal that could be attained by a critical mass of people committed to and trained in the philosophy and methods of nonviolence.

Dr. King’s Beloved Community is a global vision, in which all people can share in the wealth of the earth. In the Beloved Community, poverty, hunger and homelessness will not be tolerated because international standards of human decency will not allow it. Racism and all forms of discrimination, bigotry and prejudice will be replaced by an all-inclusive spirit of sisterhood and brotherhood. In the Beloved Community, international disputes will be resolved by peaceful conflict-resolution and reconciliation of adversaries, instead of military power. Love and trust will triumph over fear and hatred. Peace with justice will prevail over war and military conflict.

Dr. King’s Beloved Community was not devoid of interpersonal, group or international conflict. Instead he recognized that conflict was an inevitable part of human experience. But he believed that conflicts could be resolved peacefully and adversaries could be reconciled through a mutual, determined commitment to nonviolence. No conflict, he believed, need erupt in violence. And all conflicts in The Beloved Community should end with reconciliation of adversaries cooperating together in a spirit of friendship and goodwill.

from http://www.thekingcenter.org/prog/bc/

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This is the first time where I had seen it stated that the Beloved Community is not some fantasy utopia where nothing bad happened ever again. Instead, it mixes idealism with realism. It is something that is possibly obtainable. I would love for us to talk more about the Beloved Community and really spell out what we envision it to be.
In my Beloved Community, there would be universal healthcare.
In my Beloved Community, people would argue less about abortion and spend more time trying to prevent unwanted pregnancies in the first place.
In my Beloved Community, people would be allowed to marry whomever they loved.
In my Beloved Community, public education would not be funded locally by property taxes, thereby perpetuating class differences.
In my Beloved Community, both the logger and the spotted owl would be valued equally.
In my Beloved Community, society would not train people to be afraid of strangers.
In my Beloved Community, kindness would be valued more highly than physical attractiveness, athletic ability, wealth, power, fame or intelligence ...

Hmm... I don't know whether this thread should go under theology, social justice, or the Religious Left. Oh well, such are the quandaries of artificial distinctions.

 

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