#164 | JoAnn Mulready-Shick | Add "Reason"

Submission 164
JoAnn Mulready-Shick
First Parish in Lexington (Lexington, MA) 4625

What is your suggestion or idea?

Values: Pluralism Covenant
NEW WORD to be added: reason

Pluralism. We celebrate that we are all sacred beings diverse in culture,experience, and theology.We covenant to learn from one another in our free and responsible search fortruth and meaning. We embrace our differences and commonalities with Love,curiosity, and respect.
revise to:

We embrace our differences and commonalities with Love,
curiosity, reason, and respect.

What is the reason for your amendment idea?

Many sources inform our faith. Many UUs identify as Humanists and came into UUism and are deeply committed to UUism because reason was often missing from their faith of birth origin and remains central to our concerns in the larger world- witnessing lack of reason within our current society, (unreasonable gun laws , unreasonable positions on people of faith: Islamic, Jewish, BIPOC, also LGBTQ and other marginalized identities, unreasonable reproductive rights, unreasonable attacks on erasing our history of enslavement and slaughters of Native American peoples, etc.

Adding in reason within this Value and its related covenanting language makes sense for our current times

(in addition to its one and only mention in section C2.2 (…draw from our heritages of freedom, reason, hope, and courage…)

and will provide ‘some’ semblance of ‘balance’ with Love curiosity, and respect- Embracing our differences and commonalities with love, curiosity, reason, and respect.

Have you discussed this idea with your congregation or other UUs?

YES- within our congregation particularly members of social justice committees, leadership and the Board. Many are concerned that ‘Reason’ is more prominently positioned and at the same time value the centering of Love.


“Reason” is one thing that sets us apart from liberal Christian denominations and from New Age movements. Some people say that “reason” is bad because it’s part of white-supremacy culture, but most UUs value reason, dialogue, science, etc.


I agree strongly with this suggestion, the use of the word “reason” indicates a path to follow in the search for truth and meaning. It does not negate the emotional, transformative experiences we may have as we travel through life, but exists alongside it as another human ability that we should acknowledge, nurture and exercise. Reason requires first having an open mind, striving to understand other’s experience, and being generous in listening to other’s opinions. Reasoning well is something to strive for all our lives.

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Thank you, JoAnn for this contribution. I linked your remarks to another thread on the same topic #255.

While I empathize with the concerns here, I also wonder if focusing on reason does not also (ironically) contribute to reifying it into a sort of “Truth” that we believe we UUs have unique access to (after all, many New Agers, Christian, Muslims, and other non-UUs would consider their beliefs “reasonable” too. Who shall judge and by what metric—especially in regard to ethics?).

Science, and reason, are central to my understanding of my spiritual path. Without this being acknowledged in UU, I would probably go elsewhere.

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I’m hoping we can add reason as a value, something more than a sideline under Pluralism. Wherever we can do so, I feel strongly that we need it emphasized in our values.
Thank you for speaking up. Are you interested in working on it further?