#85 | Becca Boerger | Categories of Sources

Submission 85
Becca Boerger
UU Congregation of Binghamton (Binghamton, NY) 6135

What is your suggestion or idea?

C-2.3. Inspirations.

As Unitarian Universalists, we use, and are inspired by , sacred and secular understandings that help us to live into our values [the world’s religions and wisdom traditions, by science and other secular sources of truth and meaning, and by the direct experience of wonder and mystery which expands our minds and spirit. These sources ground us and sustain us in ordinary, difficult, and joyous times]. We respect the histories, contexts and cultures in which they were created and are currently practiced. These sources ground us and sustain us in ordinary, difficult, and joyous times. Grateful for the religious ancestries we inherit and the diversity which enriches our faith, we are called to ever deepen and expand our wisdom.

What is the reason for your amendment idea?

I find the simple mention of ““sacred and secular understandings that help us to live into our values”” unsatisfying. It seems too broad; what is not included in this description? I also miss the recognition of direct experience which has been of great importance to me and others with whom I’ve spoken. I recognize the problem with a long list of sources, which will always leave out something important to someone, so I am proposing a middle ground, listing a few categories of sources. I feel better with a mention of the world’s religions and wisdom traditions, and science. I find value in the rest of the paragraph, although I rearranged a couple sentences to make the writing flow better, without needing to repeat ““these sources.””

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

I posted a slightly different version of this amendment on the Blue Boat Passengers Facebook page but did not receive any comments (it got two likes and one heart). I also told members of my congregation, in a presentation and an announcement, that I was interested in suggesting an amendment to the Inspirations section but did not receive any responses from anyone there.


How do I fix this so it shows what I want to delete?

We’re correcting some of the formatting that didn’t transfer over. This is now fixed for this post.

Thank you! I appreciate all the work you’ve put into this :slight_smile:

I like the way you summarize the existing sources.


I’ve been wondering how to enrich this description. I think this revision is in the right direction.

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@diebela what would you like to see added?

I greatly appreciate how you have expanded the sources here. Not just world’s religions but “wisdom traditions.” YES! and while I had been very intent to have “secular sources” added into the equation of “sacred and secular” I think you have expanded it contentfully in really wonderful ways. You spelled out “sacred” (a term that I struggle with as an atheist UU), expanding it in the way I just quoted, and then devoted a whole phrase to “science and other secular sources of truth and meaning,” thus weaving together science and secular and OTHER such as they contribute to our search for truth and meaning.

I’m just reiterating what you have already said. This is the best version of sources I’ve seen. THANK YOU!
Bek Wheeler, UU Fellowship of the Peninsula, Newport News, VA


I love “wisdom traditions” and “science and other secular sources of truth and meaning.” I might substitute “evolved” for “were created.”


Very nice point on substituting ‘evolved’ for ‘were created.’ Yes.


I did actually comment in the Blue Boat Passengers group, though maybe it got buried or maybe it was after you posted here! I like this as an alternate, more concise version of something similar I am attempting (but with more enumerated sources).

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I like this. If our Article II no longer mentions science, then we lose a key defining feature of our liberal faith. This wording weakens the reference to science. Today, we heed the findings of science, and being “inspired” by science is weaker. A lot of pseudoscience is “inspired” by science, such as the rage for generational epigenetics. Even so, including any mention of science is better than including none.

My concern about science is strong enough that I’d like to see a one-line amendment adding science back in. That way delegates could give an up-down vote on science without simultaneously voting on other items. I wouldn’t want to see a pro-science amendment fail because it includes other elements that delegates might not approve of.

PS: Feel free to look me up on Facebook if you want to be in touch. Anyone reading this is welcome to do so.


I agree that our amendments need to be HIGHLY, indeed with laser like targeting. exactly because we don’t want to see “a pro-science amendment fail because it includes other elements…”

I’ve said the same for the “Inherent worth and dignity” phrasing - that we target that phrase in its sentence but not the whole value.

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This is one consideration that would certainly make it easier for amendments to get through. But the other consideration is the free interplay of ideas and whether the revised Article II ends up being representative enough for the majority of UUs (or anyway, the majority of delegates).

The work of combining and distilling more involved amendments, especially those that seek to incorporate new ideas and/or improved language into the already proposed revisions, might actually succeed in collaboratively devising language that works for all of us.

For many, the current revisions don’t work as they are written (just as for many, the current Article II is obsolete). Is the proposed Article II going to work if we only make, say, 20 minor tweaks to language?


@KLusignan even worse, the BOT has suggested that there may be like 10 amendments. Not 20 minor tweaks. (Now that comment about 10 amendments is surely not cast in stone, but is simply illustrative and suggestive…)

True, I do not know how we address/deal with a) more involved amendments and b) whether the thus current revised + amendments work for all of us. I guess that latter would be a thumbs down vote…

but the more involved amendments are complex indeed. I am all eyes and ears.

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Yes, that’s my reaction. If the amendments are not substantive enough that all UUs have truly had a voice in the process, and too many were screened out, I would ask my delegates to vote no.

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See submission 14 from Matthew Johnson.

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I agree; this is really well-written.

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As discussed in the Blue Boat Passengers group on Facebook, I like both your more succinct amendment here, and the direction that our and @Janet 's congregation (as well as others in this section) are going, with longer inclusion of Sources. I hope our delegates/congregants can all get together and discuss soon! Ours has finally been posted. Although the formatting didn’t work when I uploaded it, I added simple redlining using brackets and bolding in a comment below the post.

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@beccaboerger @KLusignan @JonathanTSeattle

I do like the succinctness of this amendment idea. I would prefer though to have a “inspirations” amendment that includes the “creative arts” as KLusignan’s does. I never even considered this until I read her amendment idea (originally posted in Blue Boat passengers), but now I’m stuck on it. In fact, this atheist would happily sees religious text subsumed under the rubric “the creative arts,” although I know this would be a non-starter for most UUs.

The only other issue I have is the mention of “science.” I realize that many others have asked for “science” to be re-included as a source. However, what I truly feel is key is not science per se, it is the collective empirical attitude towards the world which is crucial in solving real problems. This is not to say that science in this more broadly conceived sense is the only truth that we are going to force everyone to believe. It is just that in this age of misinformation and ideology, it is important to acknowledge our shared, collectively constructed reality. If one just says “science,” then one thinks, oh yeah … and biology and chemistry and physics, and experiments and journal papers, etc, etc., they think of specific institutional forms of the empirical worldview, not this worldview itself.