Like many, I was impressed by President Obama’s Second Inaugural address. There is much to commend in it, but perhaps the most surprising and welcome was his linking of Seneca Fall, Selma, and Stonewall. Our faith has been dedicated to increasing freedom since our inception, to encouraging the equal treatment of all people. We were among the first to ordain women; we marched in Selma – one of our ministers, James Reeb – was beaten to death there, and we have been at the forefront in affirming LGBTQ persons.
We have not been perfect, and as Obama said, the journey is not over, but I do believe that freedom is the way. An openness of mind and heart and hand leads to more justice and compassion. We are always given the chance to be better – and by better I mean more kind, more tolerant, more willing to accept others, more courageous in defending what is right.
We have called ourselves the free church and the free faith. Not that there is not a cost, but that we can open ourselves up to the wonders of the world and the blessings of community. Freedom is more that nothing left to lose; freedom is the possibility of a meaningful life, of a life of honor and dignity, worthy of our best selves.
Rev. Dr. Jim Nelson