Laura Park, Beloved Community Staff Team
On November 30, Angela Wilcox and I presented the last of four programs on the Double Helix Model of Faith Formation and Antiracist Multiculturalism. This Wellspring Wednesday program focused on the characteristics of white dominant culture and the practice of the antidotes to those characteristics as a way of making the antiracist multicultural practices side of the Double Helix more concrete. We briefly described these four characteristics:
Angela noted that how you react to not understanding the double helix is a wonderful opportunity for practicing the antidotes to white supremacy culture. There was a collective moment of recognition when Angela said that the problem isn’t that you don’t understand, the problem is that you’re uncomfortable with not understanding. “So what will you do about your discomfort?” she asked.
Angela also shared the research about how learning to speak a second language requires developing a tolerance for ambiguity. She suggested that exploring and practicing the Double Helix is actually learning a new language.
We provided each table with a handout of the antidotes to the four characteristics as well as a list of possible spiritual practices. These spiritual practices included:
We asked each table group to pick one of the characteristics and discuss three questions:
Right to comfort was chosen by the most groups, but the one perfectionism group ended up being the largest. When the groups reported back on their discussion, the perfectionism group shared that they struggled with understanding perfectionism as problematic, rather than something to be proud of, until they could see how it limited them or affected their work/relationships.
Many people recognized the importance of repetition to build skill to counter these dominant culture characteristics. As an invitation to build those skills we invited people to complete this sentence, printed on a slip of paper:
“I commit to practicing the Double Helix by using _____________________ as my daily spiritual practice to live the antidote _________________. “
People chose a range of spiritual practices to help them live into the desired antidote, including using deep breathing to live the antidote of welcoming discomfort; journaling to develop a culture of appreciation; maintaining a gratitude journal to counter perfectionism; mindful walking to notice urgency; and worship and meditation to go beyond either/or thinking.
Hopefully, people left the series—even just one of the sessions in the series—with a deeper appreciation for how the two sides of the Double Helix talk to one another in a life of faith. And, people were in community with others who are also grappling to understand this metaphor and model, so they know they're not alone in trying to understand.
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Beloved Community Resources
Unity Justice Database
Team Dynamics House of Intersectionality
Anti-Racism Resources in the Unity Libraries Collection
Creative Writers of Color in Unity Libraries
The History of Race Relations and Unity Church, 1850-2005
Beloved Community Staff Team
The Beloved Community Staff Team (BCST) strengthens and coordinates Unity’s antiracism and multicultural work, and provides opportunities for congregants and the church to grow into greater intercultural competency. We help the congregation ground itself in the understanding of antiracism and multiculturalism as a core part of faith formation. We support Unity’s efforts to expand our collective capacity to imagine and build the Beloved Community. Here, we share the stories of this journey — the struggles, the questions, and the collaborations — both at Unity and in the wider world.
The current members of the Beloved Community Staff Team include Rev. Kathleen Rolenz, Rev. KP Hong, Barbara Hubbard, Drew Danielson, Laura Park, Rev. Karen Gustafson, Angela Wilcox, Pauline Eichten, and Erika Sanders.