What Does it mean to be a People of . . .Courage?
This month we are exploring what it means to be a people of courage. Courage is about living from our hearts and discovering strength in the midst of challenge. Sometimes our courage comes from within, while at other times, it is sourced from the people in our communities who inspire us and help us to be brave. Join us to explore our faith together!
Reflections on Courage:
Fear by Shel Silverstein
Barnabus Browning Was
scared of drowning,
So he never would swim Or get
into a boat Or take a bath
Or cross a moat. He just sat
day and night With his door
locked tight And the
windows nailed down,
Shaking with fear That a
wave might appear, And
cried so many tears That
they filled up the room And
Here is the world. Beautiful and terrible things will happen. Do not be afraid. – Frederick Buechner
“Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgement that something else is more important than fear.” – Ambrose Redmoon
Feeling fear and still acting in spite of it.
The Courage of An Ally
As a faith movement, we are waking up to the need for radical action around racial justice and healing. For white UUs, that work involves a deeper and more developed understanding of allyship. It is possibly the most courageous work to which we are called today. So this month, you are invited to begin or lean more intentionally into that work. Here is one way to turn that work into a spiritual practice this month:
1. Listen and learn: Make time this month to go through the list of videos and essays below. 2. Identify Your Resistance: Notice where you find yourself pushing back while watching and reading the videos and essays. Try to avoid defensiveness. Also be sure to offer yourself compassion. 3. Identify and Commit to Your Work: Maybe it’s more learning. Perhaps it involves finding the courage to confront racism from a family member or co-worker. You might even be ready to invite someone into a courageous conversation. Take your time to figure it out. If you listen deeply to the videos and articles, your work will surely and clearly emerge.
Resources For Courageous Allyship:
● Tips For White Allies: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2c5xelPE8fc
● Five Strategies for Courageous Conversations about Racism with friends, family & co-workers: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c6Wq7mc5PAg&index=37&list=PL8PINNxdxiI6gcm6fxPDG9Yt_lMrMr luf
● What Are White People To Do? – A Forum on Racism and Being Part of the Solution – UU Tulsa: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=acx-PVNPDO0
Taking It Home: Ideas for All Ages
The Courage Workout
In this activity you are pretending to be in an exercise class.
“We can use our voices, our breath and our bodies to help us to feel braver. The more we practice feeling courageous, the more ready we will be to act when we see someone who needs us to stick up for them.“
“I am your exercise teacher. We will start with the strong body posture or stance. Show me what you think it would look like to stand or sit strongly.“
Encourage them to stretch themselves tall, with chest out and perhaps hands on hips. Gently adjust their postures as needed.
“Now take a deep breath. Pretend you are breathing in confidence, along with air. It fills you up like a balloon. As you breathe in say, “I can do this.” As you breathe out say, “I feel good“.
Then say: “Now we will use our eyes to tell people that we are serious. Which way of looking feels stronger to you?“
Demonstrate looking at the ground and saying, “stop,” and then look each one in the eye and say, “stop.” Say: “Now I am going to look right at each one of you. When I look at you, you look me in the eye and silently tell me to stop. Say “stop” with your eyes.”
As you look at each child, respond to what they are doing. You might say, “Good eye contact, Ian. Good eye contact, Sarah,” etc. Then say:
“Now we will exercise our voice muscles. Which feels stronger?“
Say, “Stop it” in a mousey high voice. Then say it again in a deep strong voice. Tell the children that they can get a bigger, deeper voice by taking their “confidence breath” deep into their bellies and letting it out while they send their words out like a powerful jet of water.
Have them practice taking a deep breath into their stomachs first just to center and relax themselves, and then while saying, “Stop it.” Or “That is mean.” Or “Quit it“, in loud and strong voices. Let them know that not all children can get a loud deep voice, especially if they are small. This is why many gospel and opera singers are large people. Compliment each child for practicing being louder than usual, this is what counts.
For a final time, have them put all three together and say “Stop it,” with a strong body stance, good eye contact and a strong deep voice.
Quiet MILCK with GW Sirens and Capital Blend:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V9lond4SXgk Choreographed: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vmOj5YGs5NY “I can’t keep quiet…” A repeat of their performance at the Women’s March.
The Courageous Call of Black Lives Matter
Hands Up by Daye Jack
“Living with my head down, hands up/No, no, don’t shoot”