I was at this conference last weekend. It was organised by LGCM and supported by over 50 organisations, including the Unitarian General Assembly, (I think) the only actual denomination to support the conference. The conference was initiated because of a report by the Gay Police Association that there had been a 74% increase in homophobic incidents, where the primary motivating factor was the religion of the perpetrator. When the Gay Police Association released this information they were themselves attacked virulently by conservative religious organisations. I blogged about that here . The workshops I attended were on the 'Religion and gay friendliness' and one on lobbying againist the religious right by someone from the British Humanist Association. The most powerful speaker by far was Ali Hilli from Iraq, who spoke about how BGLT Iraqis are under constant persecution, often in the form of torture and murder by religious militias in Iraq, including elements that have infiltrat
I'd really recommend this film. It's gruesome and violent but not in a glorifying way. It tells the story of a fisherman who's family gets caught up in the civil war in Sierra Leone. It's fictional but based on the real situation in Africa, where the diamond industry profits from conflict. I come back to the conviction that a Unitarian theology of interconnection has to be more than a vague ecological doctrine, but also a doctrine about economics. What we buy is interconnected to poverty and conflict. It's this that we need to be aware of. I found it a very Christian film in that it convinced me of the evil of violence and materialism. There's also a lot of stuff about whether people are inherently good or evil. A lot to theologically chew on. Blood Diamond Action
For all you readers (no idea how many readers I have) who don't know me, and have wondered about the sound of my voice and the look of my face, now you can see me in glorious technicolor. I did an interview for the BBC Staffordshire digital television service (now just website) many months ago, and it's now available to watch online. So click here to see my video. The visuals aren't very good on my computer at the moment. I might need to download a better RealPlayer or something.
Last weekend was the second official BUYAN conference held at Essex Unitarian Church in London. Although it was quite a low attendance it became a really fruitful time for us invsioning the future of the British Isles Unitarian Young Adult Network and develping leadership structures. Even though these conferences are physically tiring I feel really spiritually recharged by the BUYAN community. It becomes a spiritual home for me, not made up of a place, but of people. The work of BUYAN is so incredibly important for the future of the Unitarian community. I feel really optimistic about BUYAN fulfilling a mission of building young adult community within Unitarianism as well as offering a prophetic witness to Unitarianism in engaging in social justice and spiritual renewal. We should grow from strength to strength.