“Not everything that is faced can be changed. But nothing can be changed unless it is faced” is a well known quote from writer and social critic James Baldwin. While sometimes I will accept a quote like this at face value, I often like to dig to find out what the context of the quote actually was. Is the meaning of the quote actually what the author intended? This quote came from a 1962 article in the NY Times entitled “As Much Truth As One Can Bear: To Speak Out About The World As It Is, Says James Baldwin, Is the Writer’s Job.” I was drawn to another part of Baldwin’s article, where he was speaking about the role of writers, but which I think applies to us all:
We are the generation that must throw everything into the endeavor to remake America into what we say we want it to be. Without this endeavor, we will perish. However immoral or subversive this may sound to some, it is the writer who must always remember that morality, if it is to remain or become morality, must be perpetually examined, cracked, changed, made new. He [sic] must remember, however powerful the many who would rather forget, that life is the only touchstone and that life is dangerous, and that without the joyful acceptance of this danger, there can never be any safety for anyone, ever, anywhere.
First, I always find comfort in reading things that feel they could be written today but were written in another time– however I am feeling about the world, it is not by any means the first time someone has felt these things. Secondly, that line about “joyful acceptance of this danger” strikes me as part of the reason that you all have worked so hard and given so much to make sure that UUFSC exists. One of the things I first loved about you all was how real you were, how in joys and sorrows, you would speak truth about the dangers of life and express such fierce love and joy– sometimes in the same breath. This kind of culture is precious.
In our congregation, in our county, in our country, we have much to face. Let’s help each other find joyful acceptance and remember that even though not everything that is faced can be changed, nothing can be changed unless it is faced.
This Sunday in worship–Forming and Formation: Bridging our Youth. Our early years are a precious period, and the spiritual lessons we learn then shape us for the rest of our lives. Join us in celebrating the faith formation of our children, of which we are all a part. Worship Leaders this week are Rev. Darcy, Todd Whiteley, and Sabine Klein.
And what about this to go on our new church sign/ way-side pulpit?