Monday, June 26, 2006

The Seven UU Principles

Mr. Crankypants has re-worked the Seven Principles. I think they're great, if too verbose:

What about the Sources, Mr. Crankypants? Are we at the point yet where we can refer to "that transcending source of mystery and wonder affirmed in every culture, bla bla bla" as GOD??

Probably not.


Blogger Tricycle Blog said...

Maybe I'm reading him wrong, but I believe that Dan's paragraph beginning with "Ongoing revelation" is meant to be his replacement for the bullet-point Sources.


Blogger Tricycle Blog said...

Here's my initial attempt to retool Dan's language, which I agree is a very fine start:

Knowing that no words shall ever be used as a creed among us, the member congregations of the Unitarian Universalist Association do covenant together to uphold these religious principles:

Every person is worthy of love; thus we seek that all are treated with justice, dignity, and compassion.

The religious journey is as old as humanity, as fresh as each new birth, and lasts an entire lifetime; thus we remain always open to the wisdom of one another.

Love, reason, and liberty are the lifeblood of liberal religion; thus we manage our communities by them so that we may be a light upon the hill for others.

Openness, fairness, and honesty are our guiding ideals; thus we promote them amongst ourselves and stand firm against authoritarianism in every realm.

Our love embraces all life and the whole Earth; thus we approach all living things with humility, reverence, and awareness of their worth.

Revelation is ever-flowing; we receive its grace from many sources. Gratefully we remember that our denomination was founded upon the rock of liberal Christianity, and joyfully we believe that we are each free to swim in the ocean of humanity’s spiritual richness. As interdependent congregations we freely enter into this covenant; we pledge to one another our mutual trust and support.

Jeff Wilson

Blogger CK said...

Are we at the point yet where we can refer to "that transcending source of mystery and wonder affirmed in every culture, bla bla bla" as GOD??

Why do we need to be...?

Blogger PeaceBang said...

Well, CK, given that we've bled the word out of both our Principles and our Sources, I think it's high time to put it back somewhere. Also, because the first source as written is a perfect example of what I mean by "drowning in euphemism." When I use that Source, I almost always follow it up with, "In other words, that 'transcending mystery and wonder formerly known as God,'" and everyone laughs their heads off. Which to me is a sign of recognition and communal bullshit detection.

Blogger CK said...

I see where you are coming from. I just wonder if 'god' has so much baggage that the transcending blahblahblah isn't worth retaining. Language is bound to exclude in some way, but for the Buddhists and humanists among us, couldn't we find language that represents what the theists have in common with them? 'god' wouldn't seem to describe it too well.

Blogger CK said...

Not to get Tillichian on you, but what about Ground of Being or Ultimate Reality, or Transcendent Process?

Too impersonal?

Blogger PeaceBang said...

I love Ground of Being, but I'd still like to see us be unafraid to use a wide variety of names for the Ultimate that would explicitly include "God." Right now, it's nowhere to be seen, and I've written a post about the message that gives the theistic traditionalist.

Blogger ogre said...

One of my former ministers liked to use "That which has been called God."

I like that. It neither denies calling it God, nor does it embrace that form of address over others, such as Ground of Being, etc.

It deftly provides a way for those with scar tissue and issues to be helped past their problems with the term God--without denying that what we're talking about HAS been frequently called "God."

Here's the best part:
Over the years of his using it, people got comfortable hearing it... and seemed to become more comfortable with people choosing to use "God." Or not.

Blogger tinythinker said...

My overly long redundant two cents...

Some words should not just be abandoned to stereotypical associations with extreme religious fundamentalism. I personally have 'faith' and 'religion' on that list, as they are much deeper than the caricature that has been of them in popular culture. I can see where PeaceBang is coming from, I suppose, in wanting to have 'God' on such a list. If UUs are going to retreat from any and all potential negative baggage associated with terms from religion and spirituality, then what's the point? Why allow others to define these terms for us? If the popular use is X,Y,Z, then market the UU use as 'reclaiming our heritage' from the fundamenalists.

I mean, isn't UU the uncommon denomination? I'm sure those who study religious history could tell us how the uses of 'faith' and 'God' have been much more versatile than you might think. It's not like anyone can realistically 'claim' such terms (whatever they may say about the issue). I kind of see UUism as liberating the spiritual side of modern life from the bondage of parochialism and prejudice.

The fact is that superstition and superficial literalism creep into every sacred tradition. Go to Thailand or China or Japan and you will find Buddhists who think their deceased relatives and friends are in a hell realm* and that making donations and offerings at the temple will help speed these loved one's to a more pleasant afterlife. Or who think that a particular Buddha charm will bring them luck. The same is true of Islam, Judaism, Christianity, etc. I mean, indulgences for those in Purgatory anyone? How about burying the statue of a saint upside down in your yard for good fortune in real estate? It's not endemic to any one sacred tradition, it's just a human foible or quirk. These elements can be cute, funny, reassuring, dull, annoying, and in some extreme cases harmful or dangerous-just like the people who create them.

But that doesn't mean we throw the baby out with the bathwater, does it? Allow the actions of others to hold our own collective religious heritage hostage?

(Sorry, I'm preaching to the choir, but I just like this topic)
*This is not to suggest that 'true Buddhists' do or don't believe in hell realms, although the issue might be better phrased as 'What is the actual nature of the hell realms?' Or earthly or heavenly realsm for that matter. Or, appropro of this discussion...



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