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Thirty Days of Love, Day 8: Who and What We Are

Posted by Jeremie Bateman // January 23rd 2012 // soundings, Stories and Voices // one comment

Date: January 23 – Who Are We and What Motivates Us?

Staff member: Leadership Development Associate Jeremie Bateman

Description: Who are we and what motivates us? We all make assumptions about who are in our congregations and communities, and even who is here Standing on the Side of Love beside us.

Questions:  What are your unique identities? Do you fall outside your perceptions of who the SSL community is? What inspires you about our community? Why are you involved with SSL and/or UUism? What does SSL mean to you?


I started looking at these questions trying to jump right to the end and think about what SSL means to me. That was the meat of it, right? The final, all important question? Knowing that I also had to write a reflection for Blue Boat meant that I spent a great deal of time staring at a blinking cursor this weekend, unsure what to write to meet my Monday morning deadline.

It hit me this morning, as I was getting out of bed, that the reason I was having so much trouble was that I’d skipped over the question about my unique identities. Until I tackled those questions, even if only for myself, there was no way I could write authentically about what SSL means to me. I decided, as the cursor blinked a little more insistently, that I would share some of those reflections with you.

My formation as a person who cares deeply about justice took place squarely within a Roman Catholic context. Throughout high school and college I was mentored, taught and inspired by the Franciscans – both friars and sisters.  It was they who first showed me what it meant to see God on the margins, with those that society pushes to the edges. With them, I learned about systemic injustice. With them, I truly came to understand what it meant to see every human person as someone with dignity and deserving of respect. As a newly out, queer college student, I even found my budding interest in LGBT activism and in Queer Theology nurtured. Though I may no longer call the Catholic church my home, my grounding in justice work – and the language I used to articulate why I hold particular positions – is distinctly steeped in these experiences and in that tradition. It is part of my identity.

My formation is why I have such an affinity for SSL. I see the values I treasure reflected in the campaign. Standing on the Side of Love, to me, is another way of saying that we are called to the margins. That where people are pushed out, or made less-than, we stand with them. It’s a bold move, to go to the margins and stand there, and then, from there, work, advocate and witness to change hearts and minds. It’s not a popular position. It’s risky. But we are called to do no less.


About the Author

Jeremie Bateman is the Leadership Development Associate in the Office of Youth and Young Adult Ministries at the UUA. He can be reached at jbateman@uua.org.
One Response to “Thirty Days of Love, Day 8: Who and What We Are”
  1. Chris says:

    Thank you for your story. You’re not the only one for whom Catholicism inspired social justice work.

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