#380 | Barry Mahoney | Keep and add to Sources

Submission 380
Barry Mahoney
First Universalist Church of Denver

What is your suggestion or idea?

Delete Section C-2.3 of the Study Commission’s proposal and replace it with a list of sources that includes the same six sources that are listed in the current version of Article II, supplemented by three additional sources. The section would read as follows (new language shown in bold italics): Section C-2.3. Sources. The living tradition which we share draws from many sources. Unitarian Universalism is not contained in any single book or creed. Our religion has its roots in the two religious heritages that came together to establish this Association and Unitarian Universalism. As an evolving religion, Unitarian Universalism draws on these two heritages and on teachings, practices, experiences, and wisdom found in many sources including: Direct experience of that transcending mystery and wonder, affirmed in all cultures, which moves us to a renewal of spirit and an openness to forces which create and uphold life.
Words and deeds of prophetic people which challenge us to confront power and structures of evil with justice, compassion, and the transforming power of love.
Jewish and Christian teachings that call us to love our neighbor as ourselves.
Humanist teachings which counsel us to heed the guidance of reason and the results of science.
Spiritual teachings of earth-centered traditions which celebrate the sacred circle of life and instruct us to live in harmony with the rhythms of nature.
Wisdom from the world’s other religions and spiritual traditions which can inspire us in our ethical and spiritual life.
Thoughts and ideas generated by mysticism, theism, skepticism, and feminist and liberation theologies.
The creative power of the arts, the guidance of reason, the lessons of science, and the potential of constructive collection action.
The lived experiences of those who have suffered from the existence and legacy of slavery and other oppressions.

What is the reason for your amendment idea?

The Study Commission’s proposal deletes the current list of sources entirely and replaces it with a generally worded section entitled “Inspirations.” The deletion would be a loss to Unitarian Universalism. The current list of six sources is a valuable foundation for education about the living tradition of Unitarian Universalism and is highly valued by many UUs. However, as recognized by the Study Commission, there are other sources that are especially important for this religion. This suggested amendment lists three additional sources (the last three bullets in the list) that broaden the list. Two of the added sources are drawn from the 2010 proposal that was defeated at GA. The third—the lived experiences of those who have suffered from the existence and legacy of slavery and other oppressions—reinforces the importance of addressing issues that persist in our society, stemming from past and current oppressions.

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

The desirability of retaining the sources has been considered in informal small group meetings of members and has been the subject of comments at four listening sessions at our church. The listening sessions focused on the entirety of Article II and the sources were not the subject of extensive discussion. I think that most members who considered the issue favored retention of the existing list of sources that accompanies the principles in the current version of Article II but were open to revisions such as adding the three additional sources listed in this suggested amendment. If the current seven principles are retained, as I hope, then it would also be appropriate to have a single section entitled “Principles and Sources.”