#167 | Laura Gilliom | Replace with "We support one another in living.."

Submission 167
Laura Gilliom
The Community Church of Chapel Hill UU (Chapel Hill, NC) 6626

What is your suggestion or idea?

Section C-2.2.

We are accountable to one another for doing the work of living our
shared values through the spiritual discipline of Love.

Replace italicized words with ““We support one another in living…””

What is the reason for your amendment idea?

““We are accountable to each other for doing the work”” has vague connotations of threat and punishment. The phrasing I have suggested feels (to me) more generous and loving.

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

I haven’t suggested this specific idea, but I’ve talked to other members of my congregation about the commission’s proposal and many have expressed dislike of the word ““accountable.””


Great improvement in language and agree with the reasons for the edit.


I wholeheartedly support the above suggestion for all of the reasons mentioned. I also like the change from passive verb “are accountable” (whatever that means, accountable to whom, etc.) to the active verb of “support”. The verb “to be” often adds undue verbiage, passivity, and ambiguity. I’d rather opt for as much clarity, action, and simplicity as we can get.

I would furthermore propose in a similar spirit the following changes to the current text:

Instead of “We celebrate that we are all sacred beings diverse in culture, experience,
and theology,” I propose:

We celebrate diversity in culture, experience, and sanctity.”

And instead of “We work to be diverse multicultural Beloved Communities where all thrive,” I propose:

We work to build [or create] diverse Beloved Communities where all thrive”.

[Having created my profile late, it seems I cannot create a new topic and my suggestions seem sufficiently close to the above topic so I have posted them here. Hope this works okay for people—especially @lagilliom]


I like this more concise wording along with the active verb usage.

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I’ll also add that I’m not sure what “spiritual discipline of Love” means. If we are saying love is our central value, it seems redundant to say we live our shared values through love.

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@lagilliom Thank you for both of these latest comments. I wholly concur. I would even add that the odd phrasing “spiritual discipline of Love” sounds to me a bit like a sectarian catchphrase (especially with the capital “L”). I don’t know what it means either but it sounds like something that refers to a secret knowledge written in group jargon that a presumable “inner circle” does understand.

Joshua Pawelek wrote a sermon/blog on the topic of “Towards a Spiritual Discipline of Love” and explained the concept (essentially something that helps orient us to discover and practice loving responses in the face of hurt or harm). Yet, interestingly enough, Joshua concluded “I don’t know what this spiritual discipline of love looks like, not yet. But I do look forward to figuring it out, exploring, experimenting, testing, practicing … with you.” So, if even a proponent of the term doesn’t know what it “looks like”, does this phrasing seem like something one wants to place in the bylaws (a legal document)?

Linking here to others who have questioned that phrase:




I support this change,as it based on the respect for different paths for living our values and avoids judgement if others follow a different way. There is value in having some humility.
See also #245: would you consider “Love connects us to each other, and it keeps us accountable to our values.” I believe this would make us accountable to our own conscience.

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