Thursday, June 6, 2013

Is the Beloved Community Like a Toastmasters Club?

At Toastmasters clubs, you pay your dues for the privileges of attending the programs and associating with people who also want to become better speakers, but there’s no loyalty expected to or from the club.  In fact, I’m going to drop out of my club for a month because I want to take a Spanish class that meets at the same time.  At Toastmasters clubs, there’s no reason for the organization to concern itself with its members’ lives.  
In Unitarian Universalist congregations, you likewise pay for the privilege of attending the programs and associating with people with similar goals.  Except in our congregations we hear the phrase “The Beloved Community.”   Doesn’t this phrase imply some kind of loyalty from the members to the institution and from the institution to the members?  Shouldn’t a church organization be different from a booster club?
Christine Robinson’s blog ( points out that some people object that only one’s family is beloved, not one’s fellow congregants.  The latter are merely like neighbors.  
But who is my neighbor, the young man asked Jesus?  Jesus replied with the story of the Good Samaritan who acted as neighbor to the man who fell among thieves.  The Good Samaritan, whom the Jews despised, went the extra mile for a stranger.  Can members of a congregation be that kind of neighbor to each other?  

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