Rev. Lora Brandis
The Dictionary.com Word of the Year for 2016 was xenophobia. Each year the web site chooses a word based on trending lookup data and for that reason, xenophobia was dictionary.com’s 2016 Word of the Year. The word for 2017 is complicit.
“The first spike in searches for complicit was on March 12, with a 10,000% increase in daily average lookups. This was the day after Saturday Night Live aired their satirical ad featuring Scarlett Johansson playing Ivanka Trump, hawking a perfume called Complicit. This scent was marketed as ‘The fragrance for the woman who could stop all this, but won’t.’” (dictionary.com)
I was hopeful at the beginning of 2017 that the word of the year would be better than xenophobia. It’s not. The second spike, larger than the first by 1,000%, was when Ivanka Trump told a reporter that she doesn’t know what it means to be complicit. She doesn’t know that being complicit has a negative connotation, that it implies being involved with something that is wrong.
Our word as a church for the month of January is intention. The dictionary.com definition for intention is 1. an act or instance of determining mentally upon some action or result and 2. the end or object intended; purpose. As we begin a new year, how do we intend to live as a people of faith? How do we resist being complicit with societal trends? How is your purpose as an individual defined by your commitment to Horizon and to Unitarian Universalism?
My intention for the new year is to pay less attention to speculation about those who may or may not be complicit and to pay more attention to action. I am beginning 2018 with two trainings that will help me fulfill this intention. I look forward to sharing the insight I gain from these trainings with you in the new year.
The first one is a training offered by a project called Compassionate Faith. The intention of this project is to get more individuals and families helpful, nonjudgmental pastoral care related to reproductive health issues. There is still so much stigma around reproductive health issues that many fail to seek the pastoral counseling they need, even years after hard decisions have been made. My participation in the Compassionate Faith training is a direct result of the congregation’s intention last year to be a reproductive justice congregation.
The second training I’m attending is “Prophetic Organizing - Leadership Training for Faith in Texas Clergy.” The training will focus on determining and developing our prophetic witness (our "why") as clergy leaders for justice and understanding Faith in Texas’ goals for 2018. The training will be followed by worship led by Rev. Dr. William Barber. Faith in Texas is a multi-racial, multi-faith movement developing civic leadership in faith communities for economic and racial justice. Rev. Barber is the author of “The Third Reconstruction: How a Moral Movement Is Overcoming the Politics of Division and Fear,” which many of us read together last year as the UUA’s common read.
Both trainings happen in the second week of the new year. I am grateful to be able to start the new year with an intention to actively shape the year, rather than to be passively shaped by it. I am grateful to be in intentional, religious community with you.