boardoftrustees's blog

Aspects of Community

For the past ten months I have been stuck on a song: “Kind and Generous” by Natalie Merchant. According to my iPod, I have listened to it more than 85 times. The first line is, “You've been so kind and generous. I don't know how you keep on giving...” It has become a sort of quiet anthem for me.

Every time I play it, I think of Unity of Portland. I guess I hear it as an expression of the awe and the gratitude that I feel for so many in our community who keep on giving and giving. I also feel it as a prayer and affirmation that we are an ever more giving community.


I suppose it is what the nuns used to call a “mystery” when I was growing up in Catholic grade school. The name I have learned recently for this is a polarity.

A polarity is a pair of opposing realities which create tension. They are managed only by “and thinking” rather than “either/ or thinking”. In a faith community, the polarities are many: spiritual health and institutional health, strong minister and strong empowered members, in-reach and out-reach, comfort and growth. Balancing these is not always easy, but when done right it is always creative and always transformative.

A higher level of purpose, order, life and wisdom

Last Sunday, I found myself standing in one of the gardens that surround our building. It always excites me in the spring to see how the gardens change from week to week and even day to day. I walk for fitness in the mornings and have been watching the subtle changes in the earth through the winter. Winter is not so much a dead time as a time germination and organization resulting in the explosion of life that is spring.

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