Opportunity Knocks – Are We Ready?

Submitted by Andrea Perrault

In January, our much-anticipated move back to Harvard Square will take place. Collaborating with the Humanists at Harvard will give us new possibilities for expanding our reach to newer audiences, specifically to younger generations. While caution has been urged by many in our group, members of the Ethical Society of Boston must look inward and recognize that we cannot stand still, operating as we have for the past decade. Hopefully, through our strategic planning process, we’ll identify what our concerns and hopes are for the future of ESB. This process will engage us in dialogue that is much needed, and we should not ask to revive the past, but to reinvent the past in ways that are more fitting for engaging new ideas and new people.  Many in our organization found a home in ESB, one that allowed them and their families to thrive, connecting with each other and with the world. However, today’s world is more challenging in that everything is moving at record speed – communication mechanisms seem to change daily, information is less controlled by authority, people want to speak for themselves, and we must adapt to these changes, or, frankly, we will die.  Are we ready?

On December 1st, Greg Epstein addressed us about his desire to build the humanist community in Boston. He sees a need to unite in order to have a more recognized and effective voice in the larger community. With the success of his book, Good Without God, Greg has promoted a message that we should support.  His efforts to expand the reach of humanism in Boston by finding a permanent home in the heart of Harvard Square where we all can convene, share, and move forward must be applauded.  He and James Crofts, an Ethical Culture leader in training, are continuing the public dialogue by promoting their upcoming book on building humanist communities. The opportunity to contribute to this effort is one that we must welcome enthusiastically.

In November, Ryan Cragun addressed us about “What You Don’t Know about Religion, but Should”, sharing his insights about religion and the challenges, worthwhile as they are, of expanding the humanist movement. Clearly, religions hold powerful sway in the United States. From recent studies, we know that the “nones” are growing, but clearly we (or they) are not a recognized or influential community yet. With this new opportunity to build the humanist community in the Boston area, we have the chance to grow, to connect, to build a home in a major intellectual center of the country, and to promote the humanist movement. Let’s focus our efforts on opportunity, dispel negativity, and build a movement that will thrive for future generations – each with a commitment to engage newer voices and to find strength in each other and to make the humanist message known.