Unitarian Universalism is currently viewed as a noun; it is a non-pysical thing. What if we started treating as a verb? What if we practiced Unitarian Universalism; worked at it individually and in teams?
Some other religious movements have already started trying to reimagine “god” as a verb. The Bible, after all, does say that God is Love. We UUs talk a lot about love, and I have occasionally lamented that we too often use the noun form of the word, as used in “Standing on the Side of Love”. Love is also a verb, though. The word represents both a thing that we can feel and a thing that we can do.
Love, to me, is more powerful when it is something we do. That is when it does work.
What if, instead of “affirming and promoting” the Principles of the UUA, we took those Principles as guidelines for what it means to do Unitarian Universalism. What if we went to Sunday services not just to listen and converse. Could we go to huddle, to regroup, and rather than being Unitarian Universalists, prepare for the week to do Unitarian Universalism? What might that look like? Could we go out into the world to show it compassion, to work for justice, and to build systems that uphold the worth and dignity of every person?
It might sound strange, but we have a vision, and we have a mission to fulfill. Why not make that the exercise of our movement? If our version of heaven is the Beloved Community, why not be as committed to that work as other faiths are to their form of salvation?
What would change if we stopped simply being Unitarian Universalists?
Now, many of us are already doing some or all of this great work. But, are we doing it because we are Unitarian Universalists? Or are we Unitarian Universalists because it lines up with what we are already doing? The difference matters; as good as it is to be doing some of the work, knowing that you are doing it as part of a movement changes your perspective.
Keeping in mind that your work is part of a bigger effort is not only empowering, but it reminds us to look at the big picture and make sure that our social justice work intersects with and reinforces the work of others. It gives you the sense that, while we can each only give so much, we are working together for something truly magnificent. Each of us giving what we do best as a team allows us to do more than any of us could on our own.
What if we thought of our religious movement as that team? What if we thought of our religion as an activity? Could our principles be guidelines for every day decision making? How might that change how we live? What impact might that have on the community around us? How might we change the world?