Starr King Unitarian Universalist Church (Hayward, CA) 2214
What is your suggestion or idea?
Love is the power that holds us together and is at the center of our shared values. We are accountable to one another for doing the work of living our shared values through the spiritual discipline of Love.
Love is the beating heart of our communities. It shows up in the ways we care for and about each other, in sorrow and in joy. It shows up in all our shared values as we work together to make them real in the world. It shows up in the ways we hold ourselves and each other accountable as we move toward our highest aspirations. The love of our communities gives us a deep sense of belonging, of being recognized and valued and cared about. It gives us comfort and strength and joy.
Alternate ending:The love that holds us all is generous, kind, and forgiving. At the same time, it calls us to live our values in heart and mind, in word and deed.
What is the reason for your amendment idea?
I’m concerned about the description of love. It talks about love, but to me it doesn’t convey love. It speaks to my head, not my heart. Love is a circle in a diagram, and it’s darn hard work. Discipline.
It reminds me of something I read long ago about Christian churches that teach salvation by character vs ones that teach salvation by grace, and how the former tend to be very small! Positioning love as work feels like a similar approach.
What does our UU heritage tell us about love? Does it only come to us if we work hard at it? Or is it a gift available to all? What does the idea of universal salvation mean to us? Is it only about the afterlife? Or does it have meaning in this life? My view is that the love of the community comes to anyone who comes through the door (physically or virtually). We get it just by showing up. We are held in love. At the same time, it isn’t just about receiving. We need to give back – in tangible ways. This is “doing the work of living our shared values.” I do understand the importance of that. Love is as love does. It’s not enough to have a warm feeling. We have to make the love real through what we do. I’m just concerned that putting the work first will not attract people to the good news of Unitarian Universalism — quite the opposite. I was hoping for something that makes our hearts sing! Instead it sounds like we have to put on heavy packs and start slogging.
My words aren’t quite at the heart-singing stage. Perhaps you can improve on them!
Have you discussed this idea with your congregation or other UUs?
Since time is running out I haven’t had a chance to run it by many people. Here are some comments I received:
My minister, Rev Ruth Rinehart, said ““Ohmygoodness, Ben, this is so beautiful. I am so glad you are submitting this. I really agree with your words.””
Rev Greg Ward said ““Wow, thanks Ben. This is wonderfully thought through. If you haven’t turned this into a sermon, you should.””
Louise Wilkinson of the Bellevue, WA, church said ““This is really wonderful and important. I’m so glad you are submitting it. The Article II description does feel a bit abstract, cold and demanding.””