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UU Third Principle

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Oct. 9th, 2010 | 12:53 am

Unitarian Universalist Principle 3: We affirm and promote acceptance of one another and encouragement to spiritual growth in our congregations.

At the heart of this principle for me is the value that community matters. Coming together in a church does not need to be about creed and for Unitarian Universalists it really isn't. We value the importance of one another in our church c...ommunities and that there is something that we receive at church that we may not receive in our everyday lives- the opportunity to explore, engage, and celebrate our own beliefs. We explore these in times of trial and in times of celebration. We know that our beliefs matter to us, but in a vacuum they may not do much to help us when we need them most.

At my last church, members delighted in telling the story about the Atheist/Humanist meeting and the Christian meeting. It seems the two groups were scheduled to meet in the church at the same time. However, there were many members of the church who wanted to attend both meetings. So, the groups changed their times so that members could attend each meeting. All of this to say, that our members find valuable the interactions of diverse ideas and beliefs. As one person said of the religious diversity at the Graduate Theological Union (a consortium of 9 seminaries): "By being exposed to different ideas, I have become clearer about what beliefs are solid and unmovable for me and which ones I can let go of. There weren't the ideas that I was expecting and I would not known that if I hadn't been in this diverse religious community."

We accept one the beliefs of those in our communities and we support one another so that we may all grow. A stagnant spirituality that does not change over time does not do service to the complexity and beauty of living and variety in belief and honest dialogue in that belief matter for a healthy spiritual life.

This does not mean that we always agree or even get along, but that is what covenant is for. We covenant that there are certain ethical values that transcend any belief. That is what these principles are for- help create healthy religious communities founded in the idea that spiritual growth and diversity are core to building beloved community and a healthy planet.

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