A Meditation on Our Principles and Their Purpose

This week, the first full week of December, we will be reflecting on the 7 Principles of Unitarian Universalism; one each day from Monday to Sunday. We refer to this celebration as Chalica, though others prefer different names. What we want to do today, at the start is talk about those Principles as a whole; what they are, what they are not, and what they mean to me and the I Am UU project.

They are:

First and foremost, the Principles are part of a covenant of our association (Article II, Section C-2.1). Each congregation commits, on joining, that they will “affirm and promote” the Principles. In joining a UUA member congregation, you take on some part of that same commitment.

They are not:

The Principles are not a thing we must believe in; if we chose to “believe”, we must actually chose for ourselves what that belief is. Rev. William Schulz, former president of the UUA, former executive director of Amnesty International, and President Emeritus of The Unitarian Universalist Service Committee, has written about his inability to believe in our First Principle as a reality in the world. Instead, he points out, our pledge to promote the Principles means that we mean to make them real, because they must be for our goals to be achieved in the world.

This means:

That, to me, is what our Principles are, ultimately: aspirations. They are foundational ideas on which we will build our Beloved Community. That community will show respect for every person, giving them a voice in how they are governed and assuring them justice, administered compassionately. That community will respect the ecosphere of the one planet we all share, that sustains all life of which we are aware. That community will strive to maintain peace, justice, and liberty for every person.

We do not have to believe anything about the Principles except that they are positive steps towards a better world. It is possible that they are not the best steps, but we have to have goals, and these are ours. We’ve debated them, we’ve modified them, and we are in the process of doing both even now. We do not preach any perfect wisdom, even in our own Principles, but we agree that doing these things, together, makes the world easier to share.

So, this week, we ask you to affirm your place in bringing these ideas to life. Consider what you do to promote them in the world as positive change and progress towards a better world; this world, that we all share. That is the heart of our message of salvation; that it is for this world and for all of us.

I need your help:

If having the work of the I Am UU project, my work, helps you to live into our commitment to a better world, I need your support. Just a few dollars. If a percentage of the thousands of people who follow my work gave $3, it would allow me to treat this ministry as a full-time job. That’s already the time and energy I put in. I am just asking if you believe it is worth it.

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