April 2023

This past Sunday we heard the story of Moses and the burning bush - and I reflected on Moses’ resistance to being called to become the leader of his people. We all resist change, at times. We resist moving from what is comfortable and known to something new.

Early last summer I was in Portland, Oregon for the 2022 UUA General Assembly and learned about the work being done on the proposal to revise the statements of purpose and values for our UU Association. I’ve mentioned that our son Eliot lives in Portland, and when I told him about the possible changes his response was, “What!? They can’t change the Principles! ‘The inherent worth and dignity of every person’ - it’s what makes me a UU.”

As I have followed the process, and learned more about the work and thinking that has gone into it, I have become generally supportive of the changes. But I also resonate with Eliot’s reaction and have been stuck on one aspect: why not retain the phrase “inherent worth and dignity?”

The idea is still there - as part of the section on the value of equity: “We declare that every person has the right to flourish with inherent dignity and worthiness.” 

But I have been resisting that change - why “worthiness?” This past weekend, an FAQ from the UUA Board provided me with an answer: Frequently Asked Questions Questions Article II.

We’re dealing with a past in which monetary worth was assigned to human beings.
“Worthiness” is more explicit in that we are talking about the quality of being worthy.
People were and still are being monetized.
Worthiness can never be monetized.
We are all worthy of love, respect, dignity, kindness, compassion and care.

I was reminded again that I can and must continue to learn from, and be willing to defer to, the perspectives of those whose experience and ways of seeing are unlike my own. Reminded of how we all learn and grow by being open to different sources of wisdom. And of how the values I cherish are reflected and celebrated in the faith tradition I love.

Happy spring - may we all embrace the changes it brings. I am grateful to be your minister.Janets signature