Some time ago, I started a project to breakdown the 7 Principles of the UUA, and to write about the meaning I draw from them and how I apply it to my world view. It feel apart after “a free and responsible search“, but I feel that I have covered “right of conscience and democratic process” and a quick look at my tags will show that I have invested a lot of time and energy into writing about equality and civil rights, if not “Peace” and “Justice”, per se. I will admit that I have not written enough on the Interdependent Web, aside from human interactions, and I am feeling a little remorse at overlooking my own earth-centered spirituality on my blog so far.
Still, I am going to move on to a new project now. I am reading, for myself, “Guiding Principles for a Free Faith” by James Luther Adams, from which we draw The Five Smooth Stones of Liberal Religion. Though the principles laid out by Adams have been simplified and interpreted, I find that very rarely does the whole meaning come through in the poster versions. I doubt that I could do very much better than others who have more skill, training, and practice at condensing complex ideas into manageable nuggets and memes, but I would like to write about my thoughts, not just on the section about the Smooth Stones, but about the whole essay.
I am certain that this has been done a great many times, but I want to do it in my own voice, because I feel like this is one of the defining works of Unitarian Universalist theology. We are a young faith, but what we are , realistically, is the embodiment of James Luther Adams’ Liberal Religion. There is even a UUA responsive reading that ties the Smooth Stones to the wording of the 7 Principles.
Still the UUA has not accepted the Five Smooth Stones as an essential part of Unitarian Universalism, not having enshrined them in the covenant of congregations (much less asking individual UUs to understand, much less commit, to them). This is a loss for our movement, as this essay lays the foundation for honest religious growth within the Unitarian Universalist movement. There are a great many current, former, and maybe even future UUs who would love to see us fully embrace our heritage as a Liberal Religious tradition.
I have read the essay through, and I am inspired by passages and phrases. I will be making notes on the whole essay as I read through it again. I will be posting thoughts on sections as often as I feel I have a complete thought ready for you. This will not mean that I am not posting any other content, or that this is the only thing I have to work on, but I needed something of a project for the blog. I am creating a new tag, GP4FF, that will be for posts relating directly to “Guiding Principles for a Free Faith”. I hope you will join me as I delight in the revelations of one of the greatest liberal Theologians to write since the AUA and the UCA merged.