#3 | Reed Bilz | Subsitiute Growth for Transformation

Submission 3
Reed Bilz
Westside Unitarian Universalist Church (Fort Worth, TX) 7735

What is your suggestion or idea?

Section C-22. Values and Covenant
Substitute GROWTH for TRANSFORMATION. Better describes the intent and eliminates ambiguities and cultural baggage.

Add Reason and Science to INSPIRATIONS to respect our non theist and non spiritual members.

Combine PLURALISM, DEI and JUSTICE into one comprehensive title. This will avoid duplication and overlap. Our current first principle covers the topic adequately in one value.

What is the reason for your amendment idea?

See above where I give the rationales for my suggestions.

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

Yes. Our Humanist group has discussed the proposal. Over 75% of our congregation are self-described Humanists and we want our values expressed fairly.


Several people in our congregation who are working collaboratively on amendment ideas prefer the term “Growth” to “Transformation.” Transformation isn’t really a value and it’s not always positive. Growth is a positive value. Adding reason and science to Inspirations also has some proponents in our congregation, especially among those who lean towards humanism. The overlap between Pluralism, Equity and Justice was also noted.

1 Like

I agree with the substitution of “growth” for “transformation.” Transformation not only is not always positive but it is a grandiose word that often connotes something that is not possible, even if it is desirable. I have objected, quietly to myself, about its increasing use within UU for some time now.

I would prefer “Stability & Change” instead of either “Transformation” or “Growth.” For me, “Growth” has a connotation of “economic growth,” and it brings up issues of what is “sustainable growth” vs. what is “malignant growth.”

I’ve asked myself what it is that I actually VALUE.

I value a balance of “Stability & Change.” I value “accepting (each other as we are) & encouraging each other to spiritual growth … and to search for truth and meaning.” I value our “Tradition” & the fact that it is a “Living” Tradition. I acknowledge that in order to reach “a goal of world peace,” there will have to be significant change.

One message of Buddhism is that everything is always changing. But humans also need stability - that’s one reason why it’s so hard for us to imagine Article II without the 7 principles. We need stability - that’s one reason why humans are struggling so much right now with the frantic pace of change - technology, the pandemic and its social & economic impacts, climate change and resulting migrations, etc. One answer is to turn to authoritarian leaders to solve these problems - by denying them, or trying to go back in time, or by promising a new vision (that may or may not be clear-sighted). Another answer is to nurture our own individual growth and to challenge ourselves to “transform” our individual beliefs into loving actions.


I much prefer growth to transformation. Transformation has no direction and is as likely to be negative as it is positive. For example, our continued use of fossil fuels is transforming our climate. That’s not what most of us would consider to be a good thing. We can clarify what we mean by growth (e.g., not economic growth) in the statement that follows. Something like “We celebrate the transcendent power of love to foster spiritual growth and healing.” or more simply “We commit to spiritual growth.”

1 Like

I agree; stability and change are both important, and I think of the unrestrained growth of a cancer cell, or less dramatically, an urban sprawl.
Planned growth, with occasional positive surprises, can be positive; transformation seems magical or overly ambitious.

1 Like

Yes, that makes sense to me!

I feel there was another important element of spiritual growth which is lost in the current wording: the need for acceptance of one another, and the need to balance that with the challenge to grow.

Having an accepting community is consistently one of the most important reasons UUs go to Church.

1 Like

FWIW, the group from the workshop came to this current draft:

Transformation. We embrace possibilities in an always changing world. We covenant to grow spiritually and ethically, accept ourselves and one another, and collectively advance transformations that embody Love. Openness to change is fundamental to our Unitarian and Universalist heritages, never complete and never perfect.

Note re amendments that weren’t prioritized or presented: This forum is closing for comment tomorrow, but our lay-led public Facebook group, Blue Boat Passengers, will remain open for another few weeks for commenting (and still be viewable after that).

People who want to find others to coordinate about the 15-congregation amendment process may use the group to do so while it is open. Please read both the rules and the pinned post before posting or commenting there.

Blue Boat Passengers: Info & Constructive Discussion re Article II, etc. | Announcement: This group will soon be suspended | Facebook