#407 | Karen Reever | Definition of Love

Submission 407
Karen Reever
BuxMont Unitarian Universalist Fellowship (Warrington, PA) 7425

What is your suggestion or idea?

In Section C 2.2 Values and Covenant, under the graphic, begin with a full definition of ““love””. The only definition I have found in what has been presented is that love is justice in action. That’s a start but hardly enough to be the central value for the other 6. Its lacking compassion, grace, humility and whatever else we UUs embrace when we use the word ““love””.

What is the reason for your amendment idea?

If ““love”” is our central value, it needs a definition that is broad, deep and strong enough to support the other 6 values. The current Article II draft does not contain such a definition. Surely ““love”” was discussed in great detail by the Study Committee, however the outcome of that discussion about ““love”” is not reflected in the Article II draft. This is a serious omission of what is being proposed as UUA’s fundamental value.

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

Our congregation has not yet had a congregation-wide discussion about the revised Article II, although it has been shared via newsletters and several different committee meetings. We hope to have a broader discussion when our minister returns from sabbatical and when guidance is received from the UUA.

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Karen, I strongly agree that the given definition for love is insufficient, but I’m not confident that any definition could be “broad, deep and strong enough” without being unwieldy.

I worry that a definition of love that means all the things we want it to mean (after we spend a lengthy process to determine what those are) would be extensive and cumbersome because it has to wrestle with the current nebulous and multitudinous meanings held by each of us. (That flexibility can be a strength of ‘love’ in other contexts, but in this context it presents a serious challenge.)

I also worry about how “Capital-L Love” is being treated in the proposal, very much like a direct substitute to “Capital-G God,” which has very particular associations in our predominantly Christian culture. The current treatment more strongly aligns UU with Protestantism, whereas I would want to de-center it. Yes, of course we want to acknowledge the Christian history and roots of UU, but we could be so much more than just that part of our history.

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Love is living our shared values through action. (To me, love is not a feeling, it is how we ACT. We can live according to our principles or values even when facing others who are behaving deplorably. We can choose to live with love, compassion, nonviolence even in the presence of hate, fear and violence.)