I’ve been inspired by this fairly old article by Jon Carroll of the San Francisco Gate calling for a Unitarian Jihad. In 2005, he announced the formation of the Unitarian Jihad to take radical action. They will “appear in public places and require people to shake hands with each other.” They will take drastic action to bring civility and rationality to the American landscape. It has been 5 years, and we are WAY off track. We need the actions of such a movement now more than ever, as the nation seems more polarized than ever, even if it is only by the weight of coverage and attention given to the radicals and reactionaries alike.
The “Jihad” outlines a radical form of Unitarian Evangelism. Unreasonably Reasonable. Unquestioningly Questioning. Irrationally Rational. We will start dragging fanatics into perfectly nice discussions where they can feel heard and unthreatened, and hopefully find themselves open to other ideas. We will coax them into comfy chairs, and lure them into a serious exchange of ideas. We will serve them coffee (or tea, as they prefer) and disarm their violent fervor, though not their passion for improving American Life.
We need to put ourselves out there, like these fringe nut-jobs; we need to get out into the world and put our Principles into action. It is all well and good to talk about them, even shout them on Sunday or in Chalice Circle, but what the world needs is for us to stand up and and LISTEN, rather than shouting. We need people to LOVE rather than hate. Love and Listen are active verbs, along with Affirm and Promote.
The opposite of fear is not bravery, for to be brave requires the presence of some object of fear. The opposite of Fear is Love, and we must not just preach, but actively teach love to the world if we truly hope for change.