Introduction to Kinship
by Fiona Heath
As people of the chalice we tend to be focused on the here and now: we ground ourselves spiritually in the mystery of presence, the light of life as it is, and wonder what can we do right now to increase the amount of love and justice in the world. This arises out of the UU theological stance of interdependence, that we are part of web of life, connected to all other beings. The Rev. Peter Bolluta put it this way: We are not outside the web of life, imposing our will upon it, but embedded within it, one of a myriad of nodes in a complex net. Our species is dependent upon, and agents in, an interrelated network of biological diversity. Mutual relatedness must emerge as a central norm for Unitarian theology and practice.
Out of that sense of mutual relatedness can arise a sense of kinship, a sense of intimate relationship and connection with other people, with places, with other species. We are all in this together, which means we seek to extend our circle of kin. Whenever we feel the temptation to limit that circle, Unitarian Universalism challenges us to open further. To open ourselves to kinship relations not just with people who aren’t like us, but other creatures as well. To live this out means to live with care, respect and humility. It means checking our choices, not just for their impact on other people but on places and other creatures. That’s a big challenge; to live in kinship takes a lifetime to learn.
Living a life of kinship reminds us of the deeper truth that we are not alone. We are more alike than we often imagine. Trusting and depending on one another is risky, but living completely independently is isolating. Kinship is one of the sacred teachings of indigenous peoples around the world. They have said all along that we are one great family that is better off together, even with the inevitable conflict and pain, then pretending we live for ourselves alone. The planet and marginalized and oppressed groups need those with privilege to learn – sooner than later – how to live fully in relationship with all beings.
In this holiday month, I invite you to practice expanding the circle of kinship – reach out to new people, new creatures, and bring them into relation.
April 28, 2019
March 29, 2019
March 01, 2019