This week is the final week of this year's 30 Days of Love, a project sponsored by the Unitarian Universalist Association that aims to "harness love’s power to stop oppression" through a combination of community activism and outreach. The annual effort is an outgrowth of Standing on the Side of Love, a movement that began in the aftermath of a tragedy: In 2008, two Unitarian Universalists were killed and several more seriously injured in a church shooting in Knoxville, Tennessee. Targeted because of their "liberal" values of acceptance, the congregation was flooded with support and messages of love from the greater Knoxville community, cementing the movement's core idea that love is the key to overpowering oppression.
Spanning from roughly Martin Luther King, Jr. Day to Valentine's Day, the 30 Days of Love campaign invites the community to take part during this "period of intentional action, service, education, and reflection" on themes of social justice, faith, and unification. This week's theme is "Pause, Reflect, Celebrate." In that spirit, and in the spirit of using love to conquer the ills of society, we present a few books that we hope will inspire you to pause, reflect, and celebrate the idea of using love as a force for greater good.
Gather at the Table: The Healing Journey of a Daughter of Slavery and a Son of the Slave Trade, by Thomas Norman DeWolf and Sharon Leslie Morgan
Sharon Leslie Morgan, a black woman from Chicago's South Side, is a descendent of slaves on both sides of her family. She began a journey toward racial reconciliation with Thomas Norman DeWolf, a white man from rural Oregon who descends from the largest slave-trading dynasty in US history. Over a three-year period, the pair traveled thousands of miles, both overseas and through twenty-seven states, visiting ancestral towns, courthouses, cemeteries, plantations, antebellum mansions, and historic sites. Gather at the Table is the chronicle of their journey.
As DeWolf and Morgan demonstrate, before we can overcome racism we must first acknowledge and understand the damage inherited from the past-which involves confronting painful truths such as the unhealed wounds of racism. This book is a revelatory testament to the possibilities that emerge when people commit to truth, justice, and reconciliation.
By raising their voices to share stories of love and heartbreak, loyalty and betrayal, intimacy and insecurity, these Muslim men are leading the way for all men to recognize that being open and honest about their feelings is not only okay-it's intimately connected to their lives and critical to their happiness and well-being.
Faitheist: How an Atheist Found Common Ground with the Religious, by Chris Stedman
A Gift of Love includes these classic sermons, along with two new preachings. Collectively they present King's fusion of Christian teachings and social consciousness, and promote his prescient vision of love as a social and political force for change.