by Pat Blevins Webster
“He has shown you, O man, what is good; And what does the Lord require of you But to do justice, To love mercy, And to walk humbly with your God?”— Micah 6:8, NKJV
I love this verse. If I had to choose one Bible verse as my “North Star” for living, it would be this one. In 2022, I was called to focus my ministry on Social Justice. Divine Order affirmed this when UUMS offered a course in Unitive Leadership the very next term. The instructor, Reverend Valorie Gunsch, taught us the basics of Unitive Circle Leadership and shared a new vision of peace and justice emerging from the Alliance for Unitive Justice (AUJ) established by Sylvia Klute. After practicing law for thirty years, Sylvia decided to retire from the field and dedicate her time to doing something about the flawed U.S. punitive justice system. More…
Our punitive justice system is based on Hammurabi’s law, “An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth,” and dates back to 1790 BCE. Our rising crime rates, and overcrowded prisons, with a majority of prisoners being people of color evidences that this law and system does not work, nor is it just.
Charles Fillmore gives us a better idea of justice, “When judgment is divorced from love, and works from the head alone, there goes forth the human cry for justice. In our more human judgment, we are hard and heartless; We deal out punishment without motive or cause, and justice goes awry. When Justice ad Love meet at the heart center, there are balance, poise, and righteousness.” (MPD) Sylvia Clute defines conflict as an opportunity for growth, and originated 14 Arcs that embrace the meeting of Justice and Love. An Arc is like a bridge, from where we
are, to where we want to go. Here are the Arcs:
Clute also drew upon Dominic Barter’s Unitive CirclemProcess, designed to get at “root causes of conflict and achieve mutually beneficial outcomes.” (https://www.a4uj.org/unitive-principles)
These Arcs, and the Unitive Circle Process are so congruent with Unity’s Principles that we are all created in the image of a good God, and therefore, each of us is divine; we must treat one another in that way. Kabir, the 15 th Century Sufi poet states, “In your veins, and in mine, there is only one blood, the same life that animates us all! Since one unique mother earth begat us all, where did we learn to divide ourselves?”
As part of my learning in this process, I will be learning to lead Unitive Circles, and later, teaching leadership of these circles to others. With the help of others in Unity, including Reverend Gunsch, who were trained in leading Unitive Circles, I will translate the above Arcs and Unitive Leadership practices into a Unity language; with help, I will “Unitize” these. The leap is a small one. These practices can be taken into many settings. In schools in which there is a trained Unitive Circle leader, the school-to-prison pipeline has been reduced by about 34-37%. The prison recidivism rate has been decreased by about the same amount.
In Unity, we believe that our thoughts and beliefs determine the quality of our lives. As we use our Powers of Love and Imagination, one by one, act by act, with individuals and groups, we engage in the practice that the Jewish people call “Tikkun Olam,” repairing the world. Jesus was our Wayshower in that practice. Charles Fillmore, in the MPD, goes on to say, “ “There is an infinite law of justice that may be called into activity. When we call our inner forces into action, the universal law begins its GREAT work in us, and all the laws both great and small fall into line and work for us.” Fillmore’s words emphasize the importance of calling our
inner forces, our beliefs, into action. Micah’s verse reads, “to Do Justice,” not merely to pray for justice, or reflect on justice, but to act. In this way, in the practice of Tikkun
Olam, we indeed pray with our feet. I feel blessed and grateful to be engaged in this work.