Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Columbia, South Carolina
I believe that spirituality must be reasonable. Many of us grew up in religious traditions that discouraged questions and felt threatened by doubt. We UUs will not believe something just because some religious authority, ancient book, or long-standing tradition tells us to believe it. A belief must pass the test of reason for us to embrace it. We believe that the search for truth is a never-ending journey that is best traveled with an open mind.
I believe that spirituality must be concerned with peace, justice, and equality. UUs have a long history of social action, from the abolition of slavery to the labor movement, civil rights, the women’s movement, and gay rights. We are fond of saying that “service is our prayer,” reflecting our conviction that a mature spirituality should lead one from self-preoccupation to a concern for others, the community, and even the well-being of our planet.
I believe that spirituality must affirm the dignity and worth of all persons. Most churches are creedal – you must accept their dogma before they will accept you. Ours is covenantal – we are bound together by promises of how we will behave toward one another. We UUs promise to accept people as they are; to be fair, just, and compassionate with each other; and to support one another in our search for meaning, purpose, and value in our lives. What holds us together is not that we believe the same but that we treat each other the same. Our motto is “Deeds, not creeds.”
I believe that spirituality should embrace many paths because truth and meaning are too big to be contained by one tradition or defined by one book, creed, or dogma. We UUs draw inspiration from our direct experience of mystery and wonder, the words and deeds of prophetic men and women, wisdom from the world’s religions, humanistic teachings, and earth-centered spirituality. Instead of dictating the “Truth,” we prefer to support and encourage people to be true to themselves as dictated by their experience, reason, and conscience.
Rev. Dr. Neal R. Jones