I was invited to my first Unitarian Universalist service by a friend. Statistically, you probably were, too. The vast majority of UUs weren’t brought up in a UU congregation. Even those who did grow up UU at some point have to choose their membership, rather than having it assumed for them. Ours is a chosen faith.
That choice is essential to our values. Belonging starts with the individual hearing our message and our vision for the world and wanting to be part of that. All of our relationships, whether with individuals or the community, should be informed, consensual, and mutually fulfilling if not always equally beneficial. These are foundational precepts for liberal religion as practiced by Unitarian Universalists.
It should be noted that, since there is no penalty for not being a Unitarian Universalist, you have to choose it over and over again. One is free to abandon our Principles at any moment, and the only hell you find yourself in will be the one created here on Earth by hate and injustice. It can be hard, might even be impossible, to live into our aspirations every moment of every day. We have to choose, in each situation, to try to be our best selves and responsible members of the community. We choose over and over to be Unitarian Universalists.
And we will fail. When that happens, you are not an outcast or an apostate. You are a person who made a choice you aren’t proud of. We will ask you to deal with the consequences, but we will also be there to help because we have all chosen the same commitment to the community. We are pledged to accept you and encourage your growth.
This is a chosen faith, and I don’t think I could be more committed to it. Knowing it is a choice makes it more precious and more personal. It makes me want to share what I have found, because others might want to make the same choice if they only knew they had this option.