Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Semper Reformandum

Over at Yet Another Unitarian Universalist, Dan Harper (what is this with bloggers who don't at least have a nom de plume--even if they're not really blogging anonymously?) offers... no wait. Mr. Crankypants, Dan's smart alter ego (ok, so maybe this obviates my remark...) promulgates a revision of the Seven Principles.

Knowing that no words shall ever be used as a creed among us, the member congregations of the Unitarian Universalist Association do enter into covenant together to uphold these religious principles:

That every person is worthy of love; and therefore we shall treat each other, and all human beings, with justice tempered by love and compassion;

That we shall remain religious seekers all our lives, acknowledging that as individuals we are finite beings with limited understanding; and therefore we acknowledge that we must remain responsive to the insights of other human beings, particularly those within our covenanted religious community;

That we shall depend on love, reason, and liberty in the day-to-day and year-to-year running of our religious communities, making them an example to the world of the best in human communities;

That we shall promote openness, fairness, and honesty in in our own communities and in all human interactions, living out the highest democratic principles to the end that we shall resist authoritarianism wherever it springs up;

That we shall extend morality and our love to all living beings and Earth’s entire biosphere.

Ongoing revelation continually opens new insights to humanity. We acknowledge the beauty and insights present in all great world religious traditions; we recognize that as a religious movement we are rooted in the Western religious traditions, though individuals among us may be rooted in other traditions; and we recognize our responsibility to re-interpret Western religious traditions in light of the lives we live in the present.

As free, but mutually interdependent, congregations we enter into this covenant; we promise to one another our mutual trust and support; and should we break this covenant with other congregations, we shall accept the guidance of, and appropriate discipline by, other congregations within this covenant.

Criticisms offered (there, in the comments, not here):


Too wordy. Now, while I am fond of gnawing text (yes, yes, other people's text) down to its juicy marrow and discarding all the useless gristle, I want to at least start by observing that the Principles in their current form are pretty damned spare. In fact, that may be part of their problem; there's really not any poetry to them. So breathing some spirit into them may require more words.


Quibbling about "finite" and "earthbound." Would that I could channel Peacebang's gentle deflation here. Look, these are going to be reviewed again in 15 (if we remember to fulfill the requirement of the bylaws) or 20 (ahem) years. Now, I grew up with the space race, and visions of exploring Mars and settling the Moon danced in my head growing up.... But yeah, finite and eathbound. I don't think there's really any argument that suggests we're infinite, boundless beings. And I see no plausible case that we're going to be unbound from Earth within the next 20 years. To quote Bill the Cat, "Thbbbt!"


Objectives:
To update and freshen the Principles.
To rescue them from the oft-heard complaint that they're dry as pretzels.
To see if the spirit, as well as intellect, of UUism--as currently understood--can be poured into them.

With that, I offer an effort at editing and amending Mr. Crankypants' offering. (There are a couple egregious grammatical violations I ache to bite off....)

Affirming our faith's rejection of creed, the member congregations of the Unitarian Universalist Association covenant to uphold these religious principles:

Every person is worthy of love; we shall treat each other, and all beings, with justice tempered by love and compassion;

We remain religious seekers; acknowledging that we are finite beings with limited understanding, and that therefore we must remain open and responsive to the insights of others, particularly those within our faith;

We shall depend on love, reason, and liberty in governing our religious communities; offering an example to the world;

We shall promote openness, fairness, and honesty in in our congregations, and in all interactions, resisting authoritarianism and living out the highest democratic principles;

We shall responsibly extend our love and care to all living things and all the Earth.

Ongoing revelation offers new insights to humanity. We acknowledge the beauty and wisdom present in all the world's religious traditions; we recognize our religious movement's roots in the Western religious traditions and the rich inspiration many of us find in other traditions; we affirm the value and need for mystery, wonder and reason, and we recognize our responsibility to re-interpret religious traditions in light of the present.

As free and interdependent congregations we enter into this covenant; we promise to one another our mutual trust and support; should we break this covenant, we shall listen, accept guidance and appropriate discipline by other congregations within this covenanted association. This is our bond of union.

2 comments:

Dan Harper said...

Hey, I like this much better than Mr. Crankypants's version! Pretty cool....

ogre said...

As with all things, further consideration and editing... I've tinkered with the proposed wording, and thought about why it's important, too.

My objectives:
To update and freshen the Principles.
To keep them succinct.
To rescue them from the oft-heard complaint that they're dry as pretzels.

(I particularly sought to ensure that the portions which are bolded can stand alone, trying to imagine them serving two purposes; something that could be taught to children and something that I could imagine someone might actually want read at their deathbed, something that serves as an affirmation of who we are, what we believe, and what our faith is about.)

To reach back and capture pieces of the essential nature of congregational polity that I believe are missing as we currently understand ourselves--to our detriment--and to reach forward.
To see if the spirit, as well as intellect, of UUism--as currently understood--can be poured into them.

I believe that Unitarian Universalists and Unitarian Universalism would greatly benefit from focusing on pouring our old wine into new bottles.



Affirming our faith's rejection of creed, the member congregations of the Unitarian Universalist Association covenant to uphold these religious principles:

Every person is worthy of love; we shall treat each other, and all beings, with justice tempered by love and compassion;

We remain religious seekers; acknowledging that we are finite beings with limited understanding and that therefore we must remain open and responsive to the insights of others;

We shall depend on love, reason, and liberty in governing our religious communities; offering an example to the world;

We shall promote openness, fairness, and honesty in in our congregations, and in all interactions; resisting authoritarianism and living out the highest democratic principles;

We shall responsibly extend our love and care to all living beings and all the Earth; we are a part of, not apart from, nature.

We affirm that ongoing revelation offers new insights to humanity. We acknowledge the beauty and wisdom present in all the world's religious traditions; we recognize our roots in the Western religious traditions and the rich inspiration we find in other traditions. We affirm the value and need for mystery, wonder and reason, and we recognize our responsibility to re-interpret religious traditions in light of the present.

As free and interdependent congregations we enter into this covenant; we promise to one another our mutual trust and support; should we break this covenant, we shall listen, accept guidance and appropriate discipline by other congregations within this covenanted association. This is our bond of union.



In part, I'm posting this because I can't attend the Commission on Appraisal's meeting today, due to illness...