A common question posed in religious education programs to older children and youth is “If being a Unitarian Universalist was against the law, would there be enough evidence to convict you?” In the Tapestry of Faith curriculum for 2nd-3rd graders Signs of Our Faith, the characteristics mentioned include seeking knowledge, worshiping together, fair group decisions, a sense of faith as a journey and witness for justice. It is not just one of these or other shared characteristics that marks us a Unitarian Universalist, just as it not just treasuring one or more of our 7 Principles or 6 Sources. Rather it is, in my mind at least, valuing all of them, with all the challenges and contradictions inherent in that adoption, that marks us as Unitarian Universalists.
Another angle to this question involves appropriate behavior when you proclaim to the world that you are a Unitarian Universalist. My automobile sports a UU bumper sticker. It’s mighty handy for picking out my car out in a parking lot, but what does it mean when I drive 37 in a 25mph school zone? Or speed up to get through the intersection before the light turns red?
I own and wear several pairs of chalice earrings, necklaces and pins. To be honest they are worn much more on Sundays and at UU gatherings than M-F. Am I afraid, lazy, or what? At a recent training for religious educators in Cleveland, OH the discussion turned to tattoos. One of the participants had a depiction of her vision of faith development. Another had a chalice clearly visible on her inner right wrist as she reached out to shake hands. Hard to ignore and sure to invoke conversation!
What about you? Would your deeds convict you of being a Unitarian Universalist?
In faithful conversation,
Karen LoBracco, Lifespan Faith Development Consultant
Ohio Meadville and St. Lawrence Districts, UUA