#181 | Ruth Gibson | Drop "who shares our values"

Submission 181
Ruth Gibson
The Community Church of Chapel Hill UU (Chapel Hill, NC) 6626

What is your suggestion or idea?

Inseparable from one another, these shared values are: Interdependence, Equity , Transformation, Pluralism,
Generosity, and Justice.

The explanation of the values awkwardly attempt to incorporate our 7 principles. they are incoherent, hard to remember, and leave out a great deal of what UU’s have traditionally valued. What happened to the values inferred in ““our heritages of freedom, reason, hope, and courage.”” What about integrity? curiosity? these values are more typical of, and particular to, Unitarian Universalists. It would be better to lift core values out of the existing principles. Or replace the word ““values”” with ““principles.”” Or re-work the principles so that they can express something that its missing. For example, the third principle about acceptance and encouragement of spiritual growth might be re-written to focus more on being more intentionally inclusive , as that seems to be one of the primary motivations behind this revision.

I do very much like the replacement of ““Sources”” with ““Inspirations.””

What is the reason for your amendment idea?

How do these get to be our shared values? How are they particularly UU? wouldn’t any group of UUs come up with a whole different list? And on any given day any individual’s list might vary quite a bit.

Values are important, and sometimes shared, but tend to come and go depending of life-stage and circumstances. Principles imply something more enduring. Also the explanation of these values and the strained attempt to incorporate the principles make a terribly wordy statement that no one is likely to remember, let alone sing about. (And I’ll address the random illogical assignment of colors to the values elsewhere.)

The UU principles are coherent. They form a structure for a spiritual practice that is uniquely ours. Each principle, as it is followed in one’s living, leads naturally to the next. Unlike the proposed values, the principles can be read out loud in a worship service, or sung in words that even young children can remember and understand.

Many people younger than I, or newer to UUism, found in the principles an identity that they can affirm and that inspires them as they grow. If we throw them out entirely, they may be bereft and confused. More likely, if we pass this revision and people don’t actually like it enough to take it to heart, it will probably be ignored.

If the currant principles do not inspire a vision that serves the future of our faith, they do express the ideas that form a strong foundation on which we can construct and reconstruct organizations and congregations that serve our purposes. I think they can be revised in ways that comprehend and lift up a new understanding of who we are and what we are called to to, without tearing them up entirely.

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

In the discussion group I was in, a small group to be sure, the elders who were born UU’s before merger, or who joined as young adults, were not particularly attached to the principles, but liked them well enough. They liked some parts of the proposed revision but not the list of values; the ones who were not raised UU typically joined us because they had UU friends. Typically, the more recent UU’s said it was the principles that drew them to us, and one person in the group felt that they would have to find some other progressive protestant church if the proposed revision is adopted.


I agree with your arguments that the principles are more effective than the proposed values, Ruth, and I hope GA votes to keep them in Article II. I also feel strongly about keeping the sources in, recognizing that they and the principles both need updating. I don’t think the “inspirations” section of the proposed revision does justice to the inspirational language in the current sources list, which is another place many newcomers - and old timers - find resonance.