If you only read one thing from DiscoverUU…

I love that DiscoverUU was mentioned in the UU World Magazine’s Blog Roll, which surmises recent UU blog postings. It’s an honor to have been mentioned and yet, I feel I missed an opportunity. I’d like to encourage the fantastic UU World editors to publish the below UU Affirmation.

Unitarian Universalism needs to adopt a shared expression of personal affirmation.

The UUA is cutting all (nearly) programs to focus on serving at the congregational level. But those UU Congregations won’t succeed unless they start affirming the individual.

Many people arrive at UU doorsteps reacting to negative experiences with another religion. It is only natural that UUism is often defined by those aspects it does NOT share with other faith traditions. However, after some healing has occurred, we lose those members who enjoy the church, but find they don’t NEED it. Often, the scattered, reactive, and overly political* message of the church has failed to connect with them at a deeply personal level. UU’s need to move from our reactionary organizational identity by using a positive and personal affirmation that articulates a clear UU message that originates in the heart and extends beyond the congregational walls.

*Political movements must flow naturally from an abundance of spiritual strength. Using politics to insight anger and adrenaline leads to congregational fatigue and frustration. It asks members to tear themselves in yet another direction, when they have come to gather and heal.

Just as the 10 Commandments do not contain the transformative message of Christianity, UU’s cannot rely on our own Seven Principles. Many UU’s know a congregational affirmation that starts with “Love is the spirit of this church…” But the power of the Apostle’s Creed would be greatly diminished if it began: “The Catholic Church believes…” Our affirmations are impersonal and distant, a collective statement that is limited to the walls of the church by its very construction.

By declaring UUism a creedless religion, creedlessness has become our creed. We need to reconstruct this message of negation into a freeing affirmation.

I do not own the below passage. Please use it in your prayers/meditations, in your congregations, and in your literature. Teach it to your children and share it with your friends.

-Aaron Sawyer

DiscoverUU, Founder

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UU AFFIRMATION

I believe in my right to search for the good, to choose it for myself, and hold it in my heart.

I affirm this right in you as well.

Together we share in the joy of community, the power of reverence, and the challenge of freedom.

This is the promise of my heart extended to you, as we walk on separate paths, together.

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Visit DiscoverUU.com for UU News, plus the best minister blog posts and sermon podcasts.

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One Response to “If you only read one thing from DiscoverUU…”

  1. Patrick Murfin Says:

    I agree that something must be done to relate individuals to Unitarian Universalism. Your affirmation may be a good start, but it is not enough.

    I have repeatedly pointed out on numerous forums, and will continue to do so, that we find ourselves in the absurd position that there are not, in fact, any Unitarian Universalists—only book signed members of congregations affiliated with an Association. The instant any one, for any reason ceases to be in relationship with a congregation, he or she is non-person as far as the UUA goes. In the past this problem was acknowledged by allowing organizations and services to spring up to which individuals could maintain some relationship with the Unitarian Universalist movement.

    But our governance is now in the hands of what I call Congregational Polity fundamentalists who are determined to sweep away any vestige non-congregational organizations and/or services. This blithely ignores the more than 200,000 American adults who identify themselves as UUs without being in relationship to a congregation at the moment for what ever reason. Lots of folks fall into this category. Maybe most of them are just blowing smoke and say they are UU’s because they don’t know what else to put on the form. But others are not convenient to a congregation. Some are ill. Others are in religiously divided homes. Many—way too many—are our young adults who evaporate from our congregations like stray raindrops on a sizzling August sidewalk.

    Our common goal should be to bring as many of these folks as possible into either brick and mortar congregations or the Church of the Larger Fellowship. But we can’t do that if we don’t find a way to reach out to individuals and include them in the broader UU community. Unfortunately the followers of the current fad are intensely hostile to any such suggestion.

    A lot of this comes from a tunnel vision that views our heritage only through the Cambridge Platform and the Unitarian tradition. It ignores the broader, more generous understanding of the Universalists who managed to respect Congregational independence without loosing sight of flesh-and-blood individuals.

    I’ll leave for another time a discussion of the place of “politics”—whatever that is—in this whole mess.

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