from the editor in chief

 Contents: UU World March/April 2002
Contents: March/April 2002

Provocative and Prophetic

Our cover stories and other major features tend to be the focus of this space, but sometimes it's the less exalted content that most vividly marks UU World as the ally of Unitarian Universalists as they chart their religious journeys. Thus I hope you will pause on page 17 as you work your way toward this issue's fine cover story, which is a moving yet authoritative mixture of theology and memoir that wrestles with and ultimately rejects a bedrock Christian belief that the writers have come to understand as fueling violence and oppression in Western culture. The authors are Rita Nakashima Brock, a theologian and research associate at Harvard Divinity School, and the Rev. Rebecca Ann Parker, president of the UUA's west coast seminary, the Starr King School for the Ministry.

The cover story, which is adapted from Brock and Parker's new Beacon Press book, Proverbs of Ashes, hits the bull's-eye of UU World's mission, helping Unitarian Universalists live fuller religious lives. Yet the part of this bull's-eye that is hardest to hit is the final word of our mission statement, which we publish on the Opening Words page of each issue. We strive, the statement says, to be "not only informative but also useful, provocative, and even prophetic." [Click here to read it.]

To many people, prophetic journalism is an oxymoron. That's because most journalism is aligned with the status quo that prophecy challenges. But even for a magazine like this one, the prophetic can prove elusive. A deep prophetic strain flavors the 12 pages devoted to Brock and Parker's cover story and an interview with them, yet it is on page 17, in a mere 284 words in the Reflections section, that we publish a piece of pure prophecy: a statement issued by 110 Nobel laureates identifying "the most profound danger to world peace" as "the legitimate demands of the world's . . . poor and disenfranchised," most of whom "live a marginalized existence in equatorial climates" most threatened by global warming. "The only hope for the future," say 110 of the planet's best minds, "is . . ." But I don't want to steal the laureates' thunder. Take a look for yourself.

We live in times when coherent prophecy is sorely needed, not to mention people who hear its call and act on it. That the world is short of such people, or at least our nation is, is exemplified by the fact that not a single major U.S. newspaper appears to have published the laureates' statement or even brief stories quoting it. To find the statement in print in English, we had to turn to The Globe and Mail of Toronto and the International Herald Tribune of Paris.

As UUs, let us be among the people who heed the laureates' call. And please know that this Unitarian Universalist magazine is committed to publishing prophetic voices as we find them and to incorporating a prophetic sensibility into all that we do.

Tom Stites
Editor in Chief

UU World XVI:2 (March/April 2002): 2.

UU World is the magazine of the

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