Well, it’s the fall finally – the days are crisp, the nights are cool, the trees are beginning to turn. There’s so much good stuff ahead and I can’t wait to get to it. And there’s so much to do that I just want to stop everything and breathe.
Our Ministry Themes for October are Unity and Diversity – two sides of the same coin. I find myself saying that a lot lately. It seems like everything’s reducing to two sides, one coin, even though I know, as a person living in the post-modern West that there’s no way there are only two sides, let alone one coin. Mostly we’re hearing a lot about spectrum, and all the ways we land on a spectrum that incorporates many options and realities. And yet, there it is. Spirituality and Social Justice? Two sides, one coin. Self-care, strong productivity? Two sides, one coin. My sweet senior dog, and my boisterous puppy? Two sides, one coin – I mean – breed. See what I mean?
It’s funny that life seems to boil down to certain things over certain periods of my life. There was a time, a few years ago, when everything I talked about seemed to come down to “traction” – how could we get traction, how could we keep traction, where did we have traction, and how could that traction guide our ministry going forward?
More recently, I found the word “trajectory” coming out of my mouth all the time. It was never “path” or “journey” or any other of the more traditionally spiritual words. I mean, there’s a reason why the great Robert Frost poem isn’t titled “The Trajectory Not Taken,” and doesn’t go: “I took the trajectory less traveled by . . . and that has made all the difference.” See what I’m saying there?
But still, the words, and the perspectives they represent, come to dominate my language and my vision for a while – and then, for no perceptible reason, they step back, and another takes their place. From the start, I’ve been finding the two sides/one coin view somewhat tiresome because it’s so reductive. But, recently, I realized that it’s also teaching me something, because again and again it’s showing me how two things that seem contradictory or even unrelated are actually – well, you know – two sides . . . I can’t stand to finish it. But you get what I’m saying.
It’s been pretty useful lately to notice the interrelatedness of experiences, ways, identities, opportunities, choices – the way they almost rely on each other for definition and also for wholeness. Because we need both sides to our coins, whether we’re heads or tails, introvert or extrovert, religious or spiritual, seasoned or novice, impetuous or cautious – the options go on and on, but they all have their value, their place, their preciousness, their power.
So – I’m just going to lean into this perspective until it lets me go, as I know it will, and try to learn what it will teach me, in this month of Unity and Diversity. (And I’ll try not to preach it too constantly while I’m in it.) How about you? Are there two sides of a coin that you’re noticing lately? I’d love to hear about it.
See you in church,
Rev. Liz Lerner Maclay, Minister
Office Hours: Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday