26 2 / 2013

Joan Amtoft-Nielsen is a physician who works with cancer patients. She borrows words from Mother Teresa to express how she connects action with service:

“Ironically, we can only serve that to which we are profoundly connected, that which we are willing to touch. This was Mother Teresa’s basic message: “We serve life, not because it is broken, but because it is holy.”

For the explanation of how action is a context for my call, I must look beyond the surface of how Unitarian Universalism. Though, as Unitarian Universalists, we aspire to be multicultural, my experience is largely of a white dominant culture. (I am, for example, the only Latin@ student in my year at seminary.) It would be easy to speak generally to action; instead, I believe that a mujerista context, Latin@ feminist theology, reflects closely values that are aligned with my culture, such as contemplation and growth in community. Ada Maria Asisi-Diaz summarizes the mujerista theological perspective this way:

“Mujerista theology encompasses the way grass-roots Hispanic women understand the divine and grapple with questions of ultimate meaning in their daily lives. Theological reflection cannot be separated from theological action. Therefore, mujerista theology is a praxis, which consists of two interlinked moments: action and reflection. Mujerista theology is a doing of theology that does not place reflection and articulation above action. Neither does mujerista theology see the theological enterprise as a second moment following the praxis, for all action, at the moment that it is taking place, has a reflective quality. Because mujerista theology is a praxis, it is, therefore, the community as a whole which engages in the theological enterprise#.

I am called to listen to the voices that are not heard as loudly as white voices are by those who are accustomed to being dominant voices. I am called to act for love and justice in a way that holds daily life as sacred as times of worship or times of meditation or study. I am called to preserve my identity as a Latin@ and to support others in preserving their cultural and theological identities. While I can provide these things for white congregants and colleagues as well, I am clear that being a Latin@ minister is, in part, a call to include the threads of narratives of many people and cultures. A poem from educator and activist Gabriela Mistral is a lyrical expression of my call:


Those Who Do Not Dance

A crippled child
Said, “How shall I dance?”
Let your heart dance
We said.

Then the invalid said:
“How shall I sing?”
Let your heart sing
We said

Then spoke the poor dead thistle,
But I, how shall I dance?”
Let your heart fly to the wind
We said.

Then God spoke from above
“How shall I descend from the blue?”
Come dance for us here in the light
We said.

All the valley is dancing
Together under the sun,
And the heart of him who joins us not
Is turned to dust, to dust.
  1. inexplicablebeauty posted this