Introduce this year's topic by elaborating on what "empire" is. What makes it attractive? What are its demands and costs? And how have faith and empire challenged, weakened, and strengthened each other over time.
What are some ethical frameworks and questions for use in assessing, challenging, and replacing empires, empire-aimed institutions, or empire-centered thinking within ourselves? How can liberal religion use ethics to obstruct empire?
Western civilization is not alone in living with and under empires. Similarly, the response to empires has not always come from a Judeo-Christian starting point. What are some of the uniquely non-western responses to empire? In what ways do they differ from, and are similar to, Western responses to empire?
Paper 4 - The Doctrine of Discovery and American Empire
Address the history of United States Imperialism through colonization and westward expansion, including the involvement of our own Unitarian forebears in cultural assimilation efforts. Examine the theological and ideological underpinnings used to justify the genocide of native peoples, and what alternative theological understandings we might access for dismantling colonial structures and assumptions?
Imagine a Unitarian Universalism exorcised of the practices, assumptions, and mindsets of empire. What would it look like - and what would it take - to de-colonize Unitarian Universalism? You may wish to be in conversation with the author of Paper 2.