#315 | Bruce Pollack-Johnson | Various Edits to Section C2.2

Submission 315
Bruce Pollack-Johnson
Unitarian Universalists of Mt. Airy (Philadelphia, PA) 7325

What is your suggestion or idea?

Section C-2.2…

As Unitarian Universalists, … heritages of freedom, conscience, reason, science, hope, faith, and courage, building on the foundation of Love love .

Love is the power … discipline of Love. We cultivate a spirit of gratitude, compassion, generosity, and hope. Our Love connects us to one another in relationships of interdependence and mutuality.

We covenant to freely share our faith, presence, and resources.

Inseparable from one another, our these shared values are:

  • Interdependence
  • Transformative
  • Equity
  • Justice
  • LOVE
  • Generosity
  • Transformation
  • Radical
  • Dynamic
  • Inclusion
  • Evolution
  • Pluralism

[the diagram & text description would be changed as described]

Interdependence. We honor … and nurturing sustainable relationships of care and respect. With humility … damaged relationships.

Pluralism. We celebrate … with Love, compassion, curiosity, and respect.

Transformative Justice. We work to build be diverse multicultural Beloved Community Communities where all thrive.

We covenant to accountably dismantle racism and all forms of systemic oppression by our actions. We support the use of inclusive democratic processes to make decisions.

Transformation. Dynamic Evolution. We adapt to the changing world.

We covenant to collectively evolve, transform … and never perfect.

Generosity. Radical Inclusion. We support the use of inclusive democratic processes to make decisions.

We covenant to implement inclusive decision-making processes and to display radical hospitality, acknowledging that newcomers change us with their gifts rather than seeing them as new members of our club.

Equity. We declare that … with inherent dignity and value worth .

We covenant to … sustain fully accessible and equitable inclusive communities.

What is the reason for your amendment idea?

We need these values to represent all that we as UUs are and aspire to be. If we want the new Proposal to get a majority this summer and 2/3 next year, we need to make these values represent well who we have been and who we want to become. Limiting the values to single words limits the power possible in them.

“Justice” could refer to only the death penalty and retribution. Our UU vision of justice is transformative justice, which goes beyond punishment, beyond even reparatory justice (repairing the damage done), all the way to transformative justice, which also attempts to correct the systemic conditions that led to the injustice in the first place.

As a co-author of the 8th Principle, I feel it is essential that “accountably” and “by our actions” be added back from it in the Justice elaboration.

By adding “Transformative” to “Justice”, we can change “Transformation” to “Dynamic Evolution”, which is a unique property of UUism. It captures our embracing of science and evolution well before most other faiths, and that our understanding of truth (and our expression of our foundational covenant) is not fixed, but dynamic.

Generosity overlaps significantly with Love; we move that language to the section on Love. This opens space to add Radical Inclusion, including inclusive decision-making and radical hospitality as discussed by the Widening the Circle report, the Community of Communities concept, and the Trans Inclusion workshop of the Transforming Hearts Collective. We move the inclusive decision-making sentence from Justice to here, where it fits better.

Interdependence includes ecological and social concerns; including sustainable is essential to reflect current UU thinking.

“being Beloved Communities” is not common usage; “building Beloved Community” is.

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

We had several conversations about this, involving around 15 of our members, which is about 1/3 of our active membership and 1/5 of our total membership. A subset of us came up with this wording together."

2 Likes

The bulleted list of values should read:

  • Interdependence
  • Pluralism
  • Transformative Justice [replacing Justice]
  • Equity
  • Dynamic Evolution [replacing Transformation]
  • Radical Inclusion [replacing Generosity]
  • Love
1 Like

Well, truly, aren’t we accountable to each other on ALL of these values? Indeed, to put “accountably” inside the Justice value makes it seem as if the rest do not have accountability. I believe that the idea, accountable, belongs in a preface, NOT in any individual value.

Further I find “by our actions” is utterly unnecessary. EVERYTHING we do is by our actions, so again, that would have to be stated in each value. However, it is so utterly presumed that we ACT (with broad understanding of thinking, orienting, engaging, challenging, listening, etc, etc etc etc) that it just plain odd to suggest “by our actions” in the Justice one. Action applies to EVERYTHING, to ALL values. Hence is to be specified FOR all or for none.

I recall there was much discussion of this during some of the feedback sessions, and my impression was that the move of accountability was a deliberate one in response to feedback. Of course, we are continuing that process now via amendment proposal and discussion, and I understand @BrucePJ wanting to preserve important elements.

Myself, I agree that accountability is needed, especially systemically, and that this applies to important issues including racism but also others, such as acting on environmental issues before it is definitively too late.

I continue to believe that the final language will need to be a synthesis of really diverse viewpoints in order truly to represent UUs. It will be fascinating to see how the amendments play out between now and when revised revisions are presented at GA!

Seems good, but it’s a lot to consider

I love the phrases “Transformative Justice” and “Radical Inclusion”! I think our idea of transformation and evolution must also be understood on a personal level.

The previous 3rd principle suggests balancing acceptance and challenging encouragement to produce spiritual growth/transformation. Do these values still give us this aspect?