APRIL: Darrick’s Deliberations

You know how every once in awhile, a song gets stuck in your head? (well for me, it’s more than once in awhile, but I digress). The song I’ve been hearing lately is “Turn! Turn! Turn!” by the Byrds, which is based off of Ecclesiastes 3:1-8.

For those who do not know it, or need a refresher, it ends with this:
To everything – turn, turn, turn
There is a season – turn, turn, turn
And a time to every purpose under heaven

A time to gain, a time to lose
A time to rend, a time to sew
A time for love, a time for hate
A time for peace, I swear it’s not too late!

Hopefully you have heard by now that I am leaving at the end of the church year. We have had a wonderful season together! We have grown, we have visioned, and we have celebrated. We are not the same as when I started 3 years ago. We are stronger, more focused, and more awesome! And as I look forward to my next ministry, I also look forward to your next ministry. Think of this as not an ending, but an opportunity to turn and do ministry in a different way, with a different minister. They will be able to support you in ways that I could not. Let them. I am excited for your new possibilities!


JANUARY: Darrick’s Deliberations

Everyone Wants Better. No One Wants Change
by Jonathan Field

I turn on the radio and everyone’s talking about how they want change.
People want a better economy, but nobody’s willing to share in the financial hit it’ll take to get us back on track.
People want better schools, but nobody wants to rock the system, the unions, the teachers, the role of parents.
People want lower health care costs, but nobody wants to endure the changes to medicine, law and bureaucracy it’ll take to get it.
People want lower insurance, but nobody wants to adopt the changes in lifestyle and behavior that’ll drive it.
People want to be thinner, healthier and happier, but nobody wants to own actions it takes to get there.
People want lower gas prices, but nobody wants to radically shift their consumption patterns.
People want homeless brothers and sisters off the street, as long as it’s N.I.M.B.Y.
Everyone wants to own the result, nobody wants to own the process.
Especially when it involves change or disruption to the patterns around which they’ve grown accustomed.
A really smart entrepreneur once told me Maslow got it wrong.
The fundamental need is not survival, but rather the need to not have to endure change.
I laughed. But, increasingly, I’m finding truth in those words.
I often hear different definitions of leadership.
How about this…
A leader is someone who is willing to own not just the result, but the process.
What do you think?
This reading really struck me. We often talk about what we want, we don’t often talk about what we are willing to change to make it happen. We want circumstances to change, without changing ourselves. This doesn’t happen to all of us, all the time. But I guess that most of us can name an instance where we wanted things to get better, but did not want to do the work to make it happen. It is a pretty common behavior pattern.

But if we want change, we have to be willing and able to make change. For some, this is easier than others, but either we make the change we want, or we have to wait for others to make the change for us. And if we try to make the change, we may not be successful. But if we do not make the attempt, we cannot expect change to happen.

As we begin this new year, may we think about what we want to bring into our lives, and be willing to change to make it happen.


DECEMBER: Darrick’s Deliberations

Last month I was invited by the Interfaith Fellowship for Universal Healthcare to submit a reflection for a new publication they are preparing. I was asked how faith leaders can access and wield the power of their faith in this urgent fight for healthcare. Here is what I submitted to them:

The issue of healthcare in our state, and in our country, is a crucial one for people of faith. This statement underlies why I am involved in the Interfaith Fellowship for Universal Healthcare. As a Unitarian Universalist, I can not stand by and let healthcare inequalities and disparities continue. We have a human right (and I would also say a divine right) to maintain healthy bodies. So I draw upon my faith and use it in this fight for universal healthcare.

It is important to be grounded in my faith for this work. That means that I study what faith says about healthcare, pray and meditate about the issues, and build a faith platfrom from which I work. It is great that I believe in universal healthcare, but as a faith leader, if I cannot speak from a faith perspective, I am speaking as a person, not as a faith leader.

As I look through religious scriptures, I find several references to the body as a temple or holy. So it is faith work to maintain the temples of our bodies, and healthcare is a large part of that maintenance. And healthcare is a large part of how we do that maintenance work. So when people have limited or no access to healthcare, for me, it is a faith issue. People should be allowed to live into the fullness of their holiness. Not allowing them to do so infringes on their divine rights.

I also look at healthcare as a human right. Two of the guiding principles of Unitarian Universalism are “the inherent worth and dignity of every person,” and “justice, equity, and compasion in human relations.” These principles guide me on how I live my faith in the world. Universal healthcare eliminates the injustice and inequities that are found in the current healthcare system. Working with the Interfaith Felowship has been a way for me to live into this Unitarian Universalist principle.

I enter this work grounded in a belief in the holiness of the body, and in a spiritual calling for justice and equity. I identify the tools and gifts with which I can use in the universal healthcare campaign. As a minister, I have the access to a pulpit and a committed congregation. I also have the ability to be present and to witness. This is what I bring to bear to the fight for healthcare.

I have preached on the issue of healthcare and its disparities. I have hosted discussions and conversations about the issues. I have helped congregation members get involved. I have participated in conversations with elected officials and witness events. And in all of these things, I allowed my faith to inform my thoughts and actions.

Interacting with the other faith leaders has exposed me to other ideals and ways of action, which have informed and strengthened my own. It is this diversity that will bring change to the state of Connecticut on the issue of healthcare.