Greetings WUUC community,

I am excited by the way that 2023 is starting off!

First, one of the biggest and most interesting events in our year-long exploration of Curiosity is happening on Sunday, January 29: a Fireside Chat with Mónica Guzmán, the author of I Never Thought of It That Way: How to Have Fearlessly Curious Conversations in Dangerously Divided Times. Mónica will join me in the afternoon for a public conversation about her book: what inspired it, what she learned through the writing process, and how people are responding since it was released early last year. Most importantly, we will talk about why and how we should cultivate curiosity in ourselves. There will be time for Q & A after the conversation, so bring your questions, your curiosity, and a friend with you to this awesome event with a truly inspiring person.

Then in February, the Curiosity express goes full steam ahead as we form Curiosity Clusters! What are Curiosity Clusters, you ask? These are book study groups of 8-10 curious people who want to take a deeper dive into Mónica’s book. They will begin in late February and run for seven sessions. I’ll be sharing more information, including how to sign up, soon.

I really hope curiosity catches on here in our community. It is not just a way to find things more interesting. I see it as a way to address one of the deepest problems our society is facing today: ideological division, which leads to dehumanizing, hate, and, in the most extreme cases, violence. This is a justice issue. Depolarizing the extreme ideological divides, connecting across differences, and seeing the humanity in people who think and act differently: these are ways to create a fairer and more just world. A safer and more peaceful world. A world with more respect, compassion, and love. Curiosity is not just a way to find things more interesting; it is a powerful tool in building a better world. I hope you will join me in cultivating curiosity in ourselves and others. After all, I believe curiosity is contagious!

I wonder what awaits us in the rest of 2023? And I wonder, too, what will choose to make of it? I’m looking forward to a curious start to the new year.