Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Fear of the other; fear of change

Clearly I do not have the rhythem of this blog thing yet.  I keep thinking about writing but it tends to go down on the priority list.  Maybe since this is a public space..I feel it is particularly important that what I write be clear and not compromise my multiple roles and identities - for I am writing about Unitarian Universalism, faith development - here is where my personal life and my professional life meet.  For one cannot do this work and completely bracket one's personal life.  I do this work because it is my passion.  It is my passion ,so it is what I get drawn too even when I am "not on the clock." 

I have been reading Parker Palmer's The Courage to Teach.  Palmer talks about how fear governs so much of what goes on in education.  Palmer writes, "We fear the authentic encounter because it means we will have to open ourselves to be changed".  Most of us avoid change at all cost.  I know that I do.  Even though I know that it is only through changing that I can grow and actually become more myself.  Yet I know I don't want to be wrong.  I want to have all the answers.  Isn't that what being a good student is all about - giving the right answer?

I see this fear of being changed and how the other might change us hard at work in our congregations.  As we talk about becoming more intentionally multi-cultural, multi-generational, immediately fear gets to work.  "What if worship isn't comfortable for ME anymore?"  "What if I am challenged?"  I find it difficult at times to be patient with this while also understanding it. 

If we are going to change Unitarian Unviveralism to be relevant, to be alive and to live into our potential - then we are going to have to confront our fear of change head on!