Ethical Culture puts a high value on the concept of worth. Felix Adler, our founder, made it central to his philosophy, and took great pains to distinguish it from “value.” This can can be challenging. Do we have to treat everyone as a person of worth and dignity? Even Adler acknowledged that this can be really hard to do! To complicate things, sometimes we see race or gender expression or social status, but not the totality of the person. If we really believe in worth and dignity, how do we live our lives?
What impairs our sight are habits of seeing as well as the mental concomitants of seeing. Our sight is suffused with knowing, instead of feeling painfully the lack of knowing what we see. The principle to be kept in mind is to know what we see rather than to see what we know. -Abraham J. Heschel, The Prophets, The Jewish Publication Society of America, 1962, p. xv.
Dr. Michael S. Franch is an Ethical Culture Leader and an affiliate minister at Baltimore’s First Unitarian Church. Trained as a historian, he served as Leader of the Baltimore Ethical Society before working in health policy and planning for the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. He is now a retired old guy. He is a board member of the Baltimore City Historical Society and the Green Burial Association of Maryland. He plays the concertina, loves English country and contra dancing, and riding his bicycle around town.
Sunday Platform is our most important and long-standing community event. These gatherings educate, stimulate personal growth, inspire reflection and action, and strengthen our community. Sunday meetings begin with music, followed by greetings and a talk given by a Society Leader, member, or guest. Platforms cover a variety of topics that reflect current events, pressing social issues, and Humanist philosophy. Each Sunday meeting is followed by a luncheon and social hour.