UUs must develop their own creed.
Rev. Nancy McDonald Ladd’s excellent sermon podcast titled “By Heart” brought up something that I feel severely limits the potency and functionality of UUism- RITUAL.
-specifically how memorization can enhance and strengthen an individual’s beliefs.
Nancy’s sermon described how, in times of desperation and need, people find comfort returning to ritual prayers that were drilled into them as children. Rituals like The Lord’s Prayer or the Apostles’ Creed allow us to touch the sacred, shared history of humanity and the divine. They bring us comfort in times of need and bring strength to continue on in the face of adversity.
The Seven Principles are excellent organizing statements, but you will not hear Christians reciting the 10 Commandments in moments of distress.
Call it what you want. We need an affirming statement, a thesis, an organizing call. We need a creed.
Without a creed, we are a religion more about what we are not, than what we are. Paragraphs and pamphlets cannot compete with the strength of a central affirming sentence. When we find ourselves attacked by nature or our fellow man, we must be able to recall a message of affirmation and strength, defining our goals, and restoring our spirit.
The catch: Unitarian Universalism is a creedless religion.
But that’s a little like saying the absolute: “There are no absolutes.”
In that spirit, our UU creed must be one that proclaims creedlessness and captures the spirit, diversity, and responsibility of the UU tradition. The creed is: we have no creed. We just have to pretty it up. I’ve compiled bits and phrases stolen various sermon podcasts. I hope that with some effort and the cooperation of my friends, this might one day be serviceable as such a creed. Please help.
Here are two versions I have created so far. I would love to hear your thoughts. Knowing what a passionate bunch UU’s can be, I do have one request in this creative venture.
Please do not tear down without building it back up- constructiveness in place of critique please. Anyone can swing a wrecking ball. It is very difficult to build it back up.
That said: Comment away!
I believe in a personal call to find the sacred, choose it for myself, and hold it in my heart.
I affirm this right in you as well.
I believe in the power of reverence, the joy of community, and the responsibility of freedom.
This is the creed of my heart, not that of my institution.
I believe in a call to find my sacred truth, to chose for myself, and hold in my heart.
And I believe in your right to act in kind.
Together we can share the joy of community, the power of reverence, and the responsibilities of freedom.
This is the creed of my heart, extended to you, and expressed through this institution.