Wisdom is a fascinating notion. Who gets to determine what is or is not wisdom? If you look at the six sources of Unitarian Universalism you’ll note that we’ve thrown everything in there but the kitchen sink! But if we are going to be inclusive, we have to recognize that all these sources do have wisdom in them. And they also have some really bad stuff in them. How do we tell what is wisdom? Well, that’s what we have our Principles for!
For me, the Principles are not just a way to understand how to walk in the world, but they help me in discerning what is wisdom in all of the sources that we claim. So, for example, there are places in the Bible (Hebrew and Christian scriptures) that condone slavery. Now that one may be a no brainer, but you can also ask “Does it respect the dignity and worth of all persons?” No, it doesn’t. Therefore, it’s not wisdom. What about “Love God with all your heart mind and soul; and love your neighbor as yourself?” Yup, that respects the dignity and worth of all, so long as you can define God in a way that works for you.
Our First (the dignity and worth of all persons) and our Seventh (the interdependent web of all existence) Principles are our most “theological” statements and are usually my go-to check in about any issue. They ask a lot of me at times (sometimes I really don’t want to acknowledge someone’s dignity and worth!), but the spiritual practice is worth it. Next time you are stuck on a moral dilemma, you might ask yourself if these principles can help you answer the question involved.
See you in church!