Revising our Principles and Purposes

The UUA is proposing a revision to our Principles and Purposes. At a high level, I think this is a good thing – all religions must be continually updated or they risk becoming stagnant and irrelevant. Unitarian Universalists recognize this better than most.

Another good thing is that this wasn’t done by a few people making pronouncements from on high. The work was done by the Committee on Appraisal, a standing committee of both clergy and lay people, who are elected at General Assembly – the democratic process at work.

You can read their draft here, and you can offer your feedback here.

While I’m appreciative of the need for revision and the work that went into it, I don’t like it. It’s way too long and it reads like a legal document, not the sacred covenant it’s supposed to be. I appreciate the inclusion of “Earth-centered spirituality,” but I think the omission of Buddhism is a mistake – Unitarian Universalism is increasingly influenced by Eastern religions. And while cultural appropriation is certainly something to avoid (“don’t pretend to be something you aren’t”), specifically mentioning it at this level makes it seem more important than it is.

If you want some more informed opinions, check out these blogs:

http://www.peacebang.com/2008/09/03/the-commission-on-appraisal-makes-a-go-at-the-principles-sources/

http://iminister.blogspot.com/2008/09/new-try-at-our-purposes-and-principles.html

http://www.danielharper.org/blog/?p=517

http://boyinthebands.com/archives/change-for-not-believing-in/

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About John Beckett

I’m a Druid in the Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids. I’m an ordained priest in the Universal Gnostic Fellowship. I’m the Coordinating Officer of the Denton, Texas Covenant of Unitarian Universalist Pagans. This year I’m also serving as a member of the Board of Trustees of CUUPS National. I’m a member of the Denton Unitarian Universalist Fellowship.

I write as a spiritual practice. It helps me organize my thoughts and work through ideas and concepts. It helps me evaluate my beliefs and practices against my core values and against what I know (or at least, what I think I know) to be true. It helps me interpret my experiences (religious and otherwise) in ways that are both meaningful and honest.


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