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Soul Matters @ OUUC

October 2017                                                                                             


October's Theme: Courage

courage quote

Sara's Reflections

Sara Lewis1

This fall I tried something new (an act of courage in itself) and invited anyone interested to come and help plan the content of the children's religious education lessons for the next few months. I was inspired by a workshop I attended at this year's General Assembly called "De-centering Whiteness in Worship", which encouraged everyone to involve more perspectives in planning worship in our congregations. What is true of worship is also true of RE: when only a few or only one perspective is included in planning, the result will naturally be less inclusive and multicultural.

So people showed up, and we gathered around a table and thought about this theme of Courage and what we could do with it. There are so many different ways to show courage - courage to be yourself, courage to care about others, courage to be vulnerable, courage to carry on in the face of fear and difficulty. There is the courage it takes to stand up to bullies. There is the courage it takes to change your mind or admit your mistakes. 

October provides so many different connections to courage, as well. It is LGBT history month, and there is so much courage to be celebrated in the stories of those who have worked for and fought for acceptance, rights, and inclusion for diverse sexual and gender identities.

We also have the holiday Columbus Day becoming Indigenous People's Day, and the courage to tell new stories and confront our own history in a more honest way. 

October is Anti-Bullying Month. And there is Halloween/Samhain and Dia de los Muertos, and the courage to face the spooky darkness of on-coming winter as well as the reality of death.

In our planning meeting we also thought about the story of UU "superhero" Christopher Reeve and his example of courage and advocacy for disability rights and spinal cord injury research. We thought about the everyday acts of courage we see that might go without awards or celebration. And then the call for a 2nd White Supremacy Teach-In in the month of October was issued, and now we also have the courage to call for change, the courage to protest, and the courage to be an ally in the mix.

There are so many different angles to this theme! It feels like it could go just about as many different directions as we have different people!

And maybe that's just the truth of this theme: courage is both as universal and as unique as it is because it is so terribly human. Courage comes from the Latin cor, or "heart". It is human to fear, and it is human to choose courage. It is at the heart of human existence, that despite our fears and uncertainties, despite the fact that we may lose or be hurt, despite the fact that it may be hard, we do it anyway. Whatever "it" may be. 

We, ordinary humans that we are, are also courageous beings - our own superheroes if you will. This month, let us lift up and celebrate that courage, and grow ever braver together.

Reflection Questions:

1.       Is it time to bravely start trusting people again?


2.       Is it time to tell someone how scared you really are?


3.       Is it time to bravely admit, “I was wrong”?

4. How might your life change if you saw optimism as our time’s most courageous act?


Soul Matters Discussion Circle

sharing circleJoin us on the 2nd Sunday of each month, 12:30-2:30 (Bring Your Own Lunch) for an open Discussion Circle on the theme of the month.

October's Discussion Circle will be on October 8th.

If you would prefer a Covenant Circle that meets regularly with the same people for a church year, our DRE is accepting applications for Facilitators now, or you can sign up for a Circle here: 

Spiritual Exercise

Step Outside Your Comfort Zone

We rarely give ordinary courage the honor it is due. On a daily basis, the threats we face are not the dramatic dangers of burning buildings but the insidious hazards of our comfort zones. This reminds us that the enemy of courage is often not fear but safety and routine. Sometimes those routines support and structure our lives; sometimes they stifle and shrink them. So this month, you are invited to pursue the practice of ordinary risk and adventure. Your instructions are simple: Pick an activity that pulls you out of your comfort zone.


Here’s some inspiration and guidance:


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:

        How To Be A White Ally - DON'T:

White Allies:

        Five Strategies for Courageous Conversations about Racism with friends, family & co-workers: 

        Eleven Ways White America Avoids Taking Responsibility for its Racism:

        Increase Your Racial Stamina: Take The Pledge:

        We Need Co-conspirators, Not Allies:

        White People in Solidarity Against Racism:

What Are White People To Do? - A Forum on Racism and Being Part of the Solution - UU Tulsa:

Other Media to Inspire:

daring greatly

Daring Greatly by Brene Brown

The Courage to Be Wrong - TED Talk

Most of us will do anything to avoid being wrong. But what if we're wrong about that? "Wrongologist" Kathryn Schulz makes a compelling case for not just admitting but embracing our fallibility.


Sara Bareilles cover by Amy Hoffman

What's Your Greatest Fear? | Ages 0-100  

For Young Souls:


October is Anti-Bullying Month, in addition to our theme of Courage, and the two go together nicely. Here are some resources for talking about bullying with children:

14 Must Read Anti-Bullying Books from We Are Teachers

For Parents/Teachers/Caregivers:

Building Courage in Kids – How to Teach Kids to Be Brave

Fears and Children - strategies

And How are the Children?

Four Powerful  Ways To Raise Courageous  Children in 2017

Faith In Action: White Supremacy Teach-In, October 22nd

OUUC will hold its 2nd White Supremacy Teach In on October 22nd, following the 11:00 worship service. Please plan to attend!

To receive other recommendations, words of wisdom, reflection questions, and more all through the month as we engage with this theme, join the OUUC Soul Matters Facebook Group!
In This Issue
  • Sara's Reflections
  • Reflection Questions
  • Spiritual Exercise
  • Recommended Media
  • For Young Souls, Parents, Teachers, and Caregivers
  • Faith In Action
  • Words of Wisdom
ouuc chalice

"Our word 'courage' comes from the French word coeur, 'heart'. Courage is a willingness to act from the heart, to let your heart lead the way, not knowing what will be required of you next, and if you can do it."

- Jean Shinoda Bolen

“Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgement that something else is more important than fear.”

- Ambrose Redmoon

“Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, ‘I will try again tomorrow.’”

- Mary Anne Radmacher


“Perhaps all the dragons in our lives are princesses who are only waiting to see us act, just once, with beauty and courage. Perhaps everything that frightens us is, in its deepest essence, something helpless that wants our love.”

– Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet

All around you, people will be tiptoeing through life, just to arrive at death safely. But dear children, do not tiptoe. Run, hop, skip, or dance, just don't tiptoe.”

- Shane Claiborne

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Olympia Unitarian Universalist Congregation
2315 Division St NW
Olympia, Washington 98502

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