Ironicschmoozer’s Weblog

Whose Are We? (Family Minister’s newsletter column)

Whose Are We? 

Along with other members of the UU ministers association, I’ve taken part in small-group reflections on the question “Whose are we?”            The larger questions are “To whom and to what do we belong?”  and “Who and what have a claim on us?”

Last fall at a retreat, in one exercise each person sat facing another person.  I asked my colleague:  “Whose are you?”  I asked over and over, for five minutes.  The person took a moment to think each time, and then said whatever came to mind.  I responded with a phrase of blessing, and asked the question again.  We repeated this until the bell sounded.

Five minutes sounds like a long time to face a person and keep answering that question, but it went fast.  Then it was my turn to receive the invitation to reflect.  “Whose are you?”  she asked.  I responded, and she blessed every answer with the same phrase.

What would you say?  How would you fill five minutes?

I thought of my ancestors and my current relatives.  I thought of you, my congregation.  I though of many things.

“I belong to the natural world,” I said.

Whose are you?

“I am a child of the Spirit of Life.”

Whose are you?  “I am the result of all the efforts, labors and contributions of people I never knew.”

“I belong to my schools and teachers,” I said, for they have shaped and formed me.  I belong to the Buddhist and Christian traditions; they have given to me nourishing spiritual practices.

To whom are you accountable?   I said I am accountable to the children in my care, and also to the generations of children yet to come. They will inherit my community and inherit planet Earth.

I said I belong to this religious movement.  I am accountable to its principles and its guidelines for professional ministers.  That’s not the most touching of my insights during that shared moment, of course.

Yet, as participants in UUSS, we all belong to this movement.  We have received the gift of this church from generations past.

If you’d like to have a workshop or class based on the “Whose Are We” concept, let me know.

Meanwhile, I invite you to sit and ask yourself this question, over and over.  And to respond with words of blessing for each connection that comes to your mind and lips.



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