You know that bumper sticker that says “Unitarian Universalism: Where all your answers are questioned.” I don’t like it! On the surface it smacks of elitism and intellectualism – two things that Unitarian Universalists are already accused of by many. Why add more fuel to the fire?
Oh, I think I know why we say it. It makes us feel good to think that we don’t provide answers like those mainline churches–that we respect the individual’s search for their own truth. And of course our heritage is one of questioning authority and sources of power. But the human brain seeks answers and sometimes it would be easier if there was one answer that fit everyone. We may even succumb to the allure of group think, assuming we all believe the same thing about politics or justice because we are UUs. It just isn’t true. All our lives we are each seeking answers to questions we have, both big and small. That is the crux of our fourth principle – “A free and responsible search for truth and meaning.”
So, why would a Unitarian Universalist say that my answers, freely and responsibly sought, are questioned. If you question my answers enough or with the implication that I just don’t know or haven’t been “properly” informed, I feel diminished. And diminishing my search doesn’t aid my spiritual growth. We all walk different paths, seek information in different places, and bring our myriad of cultures to our learning. I won’t pretend that I know everything or that all my answers are right, but, then, neither should you. Doesn’t the bumper sticker itself imply that UU’s know it all, that there is some right answer to any given question about life or spirituality or religion? That if my answer doesn’t fit yours, you will question its validity?
I seek a religious community where my search is honored and each truth I arrive at in the process is valid, a community where I learn alongside others and am inspired to continue learning because of the relationships I build. That’s why I choose Unitarian Universalism–because I know this is the potential our faith holds. What do I need from you? I want you to seek to understand me, to know where I come from and why I am on this journey with you. I want the freedom and safety to explore my own beliefs and understanding of the world, life and death, the big questions. I don’t always want to be questioned, I want to be heard. And I want to hear your story, your beliefs, your struggles. This sharing moves me and sometimes, upon reflection, I question my own answers and move to a deeper understanding of how to be alive and engaged in building a more just world.
Won’t you join me in this search?