Rev. David Breeden: A Philosophy of Radical Humanist Welcome

A Philosophy of Radical Humanist Welcome
Rev. Dr. David Breeden, Senior Minister, First Unitarian Society of Minneapolis
A philosophy of radical welcome rooted in Humanism necessarily dives to to the very essence of what it means
  • to be human,
  • to be human in the fullness of human potential,
  • and to be human in a community of care.
As so many of the world’s religious and philosophical writings advise, and as evolution appears to have selected for, we human beings are at our best when we are welcoming the stranger.
The radical in radical welcoming goes further than mere welcome because we free-thinking people also read human psychology, and therefore we know that there is so much more to being human than those human attibributes that traditionally get shared at most human gatherings.
Radical welcome is about radical inclusion: no human characteristic, impulse, or thought is foreign to our gatherings. We are all fellow human beings.
That is the deepest lesson that Humanism has to offer.
Are Humanists perfect? Heck no! Our very commitment to living life to its fullest means we are never done experiencing, explaining, and exploring.
Yet, collectively we make the attempt to be our best.
  • We we are about meaning;
  • we are about purpose;
  • are about empowerment.
Nothing human is foreign to us—we are the LGBTQ+ community, we are the differently-abled community, we are the neurodiverse community, we are the marginalized for whatever reason—nothing human is foreign; nothing human is frightening; nothing human can be ignored.
Radical welcome is not passive acceptance—“Oh, sure, c’mon in if ya wanna.” Rather we see welcome as a transformative process. The more human minds with more experience and social locations, and on . . . more human minds only make us stronger: Stronger in our community of care. Stronger in what we know and what we can do to benefit sentient beings and our planet.
Because a philosophy of radical welcome is not about beliefs or the failure or success of particular ideas or institutions. A philosophy of radical welcome is about gathering the folk, gathering the power that resides in our very humanity. We find centering and rest we find companionship; we learn of and see new possibilities.
As I see it, a Humanist Community offers five central invitations:
  • Come in; slow down
  • Dive into diversity!
  • Bring all of you, all the time
  • Be authentically you, through and through
  • Practice compassion, commitment, and courage . . . together
We invite everyone to join our community of care!
Come sing. Come dance.
Come teach. Come learn.
Come to transform
and be transformed.
What isn’t welcome?
Dogma. Dogma is not welcome.
Especially snarling dogma.
Rather here, we pet our dogmas; we take them for walks.
A philosophy of radical Humanist welcome is inherently a philosophy of love, compassion, and radical acceptance of our common humanness.
We aim to create a space that is not only welcoming in word but also in spirit, deed, and action.
Be the welcomed.
Be the welcoming.
Join us in the common human project of freeing each other.
Why do we gather?
So that all human beings may be free!
Free to live a full, flourishing life of love, art, and purpose.
Come. Let us be human together!
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Rev. Dr. David Breeden is the social media manager of the UU Humanist Association, serves as Chair of the Education Committee of the American Humanist Association, and is Senior Minister at First Unitarian Society, Minneapolis. David has a Master of Fine Arts in poetry from The Iowa Writers’ Workshop and a PhD from the Center for Writers at the University of Southern Mississippi, with additional study in writing and Buddhism at Naropa Institute in Boulder, Colorado. He also has a Master of Divinity degree from Meadville Lombard Theological School. He blogs at He tweets at @dbreeden.