by Mike Wilson, Chair, Council for Faith in Action
I have been wondering how people think about faith and how they are practicing a faith they can ascribe to being as a Unitarian Universalist (UU). Having never joined an organized religion before being a UU, the idea of religious faith seems antithetical to me. However, looking at the eight principles that I use as a basis of understanding the notion of a UU faith, it doesn’t really seem that far from what is comfortable to me. They are essentially the values on which I have lived (or tried to live) my life.
The first principle starts with worth and dignity of individuals. That is at the core of what we do, because if you don’t ensure you are working, you can’t work with others. Therefore, I struggle daily to maintain my own sense of worth and self-dignity and find it really uncomfortable when I observe others denigrating somebody. This same sort of thing applies to all the rest. The second is about relationships, the third about communities (or congregations), the fourth about truth and meaning, the fifth about democracy, the sixth about peace in the world, seventh about interconnectedness of everything and eighth about ridding ourselves of destructive bias.
I am imagining that most people think about faith in really large terms, that is doing really dedicated works to support things like the poor, the disabled, those in need or the environment. But faith is also about making positive connections, listening well and hearing the deep parts of communications. It’s about working in the community through actions that help people learn, live better or succeed in what they want to become. And yes, it is also about grand actions such as volunteering with projects for world peace, reduction of hunger, support of struggling immigrants struggling, and the use of science in global warming. It covers many human responses from the small mundane aspects of daily living to the complex struggle for a better world.
Faith in action is natural and ordinary to extraordinary. So, we must recognize it wherever it is. We must be mindful of it wherever we participate and celebrate it in the small moments as well as the really trying, but grand moments. We can all aspire daily to find ourselves as UUs involved in our faith. It is natural, sometimes easy and sometimes hard. Let’s all be mindful of these eight principles and find them everywhere in our lives.