A Free AND Responsible Search

To be a Unitarian Universalist is to invite, even request, that people ask you about your beliefs. Your fellow congregants are promised to inquire and even critique your stances, ensuring that they are both responsible, in light of all available information, and that you are still growing if there is any room for you to do so. These are parts of our Principles, every bit as important as “freedom” and “right of conscience”.

We cannot overemphasize that you are free to form your own beliefs and practices as a Unitarian Universalist. Still, they must be beliefs free from conflict with the world we live in and the one we are trying to build together. If your belief makes you or others less safe, less prepared to deal with real issues, or less inclined to healthy, mutually beneficial relationships, your fellow UUs have a right and responsibility to address that with you.

You must direct your own search for truth and meaning. You should expect, though, that the people you are in covenant with will question, inform, and encourage you to grow. They share a responsibility to help you be your best, and to give your best to the world. Even if, for a time, you find that there is no natural direction for growth, they have a duty to help you keep looking. The search can never be assumed to be complete as long as we are experiencing new things and new information is coming available. We have to examine it and allow that it might reshape our faith in some way.

Freedom is always entangled with responsibility, in life as in the principles of the UUA. To claim freedom is to claim responsibility for your own actions. To be UU is to covenant with others to hold one another accountable. To be UU is to commit to the effort to be your best self. No one expects that you will achieve it every day, but being responsible to the community often makes the effort easier to undertake.

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