What’s a Unitarian Universalist?

Raised a Unitarian Universalist and being a national expert on small groups, social media, and community building within the denomination,  people often ask me, “Peter, so what’s a Unitarian Universalist? I see from social media that they care about the issues I care about, but what’s the deal?”

My short version is that they are people who value learning and being in community with people of diverse beliefs but anchored in shared common values.

Once upon a time we didn’t have access to books and the internet so local churches were THE source.  Give humanity access to all of AMAZON.com, Youtube,  and beyond and you get people who are interested in multiple sources of wisdom and inspiration.

Unitarian Universalist congregations have evolved to be places where brining in different sources of wisdom and inspiration are the norm, just in the context of shared values.

What values?

These core principles are affirmed by mebmers of the Unitarian Universalist Association of congregations.   Though each congregation is independent and democratically governed.

  1. The inherent worth and dignity of every person;
  2. Justice, equity and compassion in human relations;
  3. Acceptance of one another and encouragement to spiritual growth in our congregations;
  4. A free and responsible search for truth and meaning;
  5. The right of conscience and the use of the democratic process within our congregations and in society at large;
  6. The goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all;
  7. Respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.

As for sources of wisdom and inspiration, Unitarian Universalist congregations “drawn from sources as diverse as science, poetry, scripture, and personal experience” including:

  • Direct experience of that transcending mystery and wonder, affirmed in all cultures, which moves us to a renewal of the spirit and an openness to the forces which create and uphold life;
  • Words and deeds of prophetic women and men which challenge us to confront powers and structures of evil with justice, compassion, and the transforming power of love;
  • Wisdom from the world’s religions which inspires us in our ethical and spiritual life;
  • Jewish and Christian teachings which call us to respond to God’s love by loving our neighbors as ourselves;
  • Humanist teachings which counsel us to heed the guidance of reason and the results of science, and warn us against idolatries of the mind and spirit;
  • 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.

The above content is drawn from http://uua.org/beliefs.