The guru Osho once said:
If you love a flower, don’t pick it up. Because if you pick it up it dies and it ceases to be what you love.
So if you love a flower, let it be. Love is not about possession. Love is about appreciation.
An expansion on this thought, recently attributed falsely but widely to Buddha, is that when you like a flower, you pick it; when you love a flower, you water it. This, then, is a good way to look at the 3rd Principle of the UUA: Acceptance of one another and encouragement to spiritual growth in our congregations. You see, while some groups would take you in and arrange you to fit their preconceived notion of what a good person should look and sound like, we strive (and it isn’t always easy) to accept you for the person you are, while “watering” you; encouraging you to be your best, no matter what that ends up looking like.
Our mission as a religious movement is to make the world a better place for the largest number of people, with justice, equity, and compassion guiding human relationships. Advancing that mission requires that we learn from as many people as possible all the different ways in which one can be human. Each of us can only experience a small fraction of that, but by listening and working together with others from diverse backgrounds, we can still broaden our understanding and improve in our efforts.
It isn’t a simple thing to accept someone, nor to encourage them to be authentic in their search for truth and meaning. It isn’t something you choose to do one day and move on from. Acceptance happens all over again every time you meet them, and it may get easier or more difficult each time. For us, the struggle to live up to that Principle is a religious devotion. For us, community means letting you grow in whatever wild and wonderful way is right for you, as long as your growth doesn’t unnecessarily hinder others from doing the same.
Liberal religious ministry requires dedication, skill, and a lot of time. If you appreciate the work that goes into the I Am UU project, we need to hear from you. Please share your thoughts here and on social media. Please send us links or ideas for future posts. Please consider pledging even $1 a month to help us share Unitarian Universalism with the world. We cannot fulfill our mission if we can’t inspire you to be part of it!