Inspiration and Guidance in Unitarian Universalism
We are inspired by beauty, truth, love, and compassion that knows no bounds. We are inspired by elders, by children, by courageous people, by community. By nature, science, the universe, and the creativity at work in the world. By the Bible, the Bhagavad Gita, the Tao Te Ching, by ancient wisdom. We are inspired by literature and poetry, artists and authors. As Unitarian Universalists, life is a constant source of inspiration, calling us to live with greater depth, connection, and compassion.
You could say the world is our scripture. The tradition we share is a “living tradition,” meaning our sources of inspiration evolve over time as we do. We are fond of the line by Samuel Longfellow, “Revelation is not sealed… truth and right are still revealed.” In the nineteenth century the Bible was our main source of inspiration and guidance; in the twenty-first century it is one of many.
When Unitarian Universalists (UUs) got together to articulate our main sources of inspiration and guidance, we came up with the following six Sources, as articulated in the Principles our congregations affirm:
- Direct experience of that transcending mystery and wonder, affirmed in all cultures, which moves us to a renewal of the spirit and an openness to the forces which create and uphold life.
- Words and deeds of prophetic women and men which challenge us to confront powers and structures of evil with justice, compassion, and the transforming power of love.
- Wisdom from the world's religions which inspires us in our ethical and spiritual life.
- Jewish and Christian teachings which call us to respond to God's love by loving our neighbors as ourselves.
- Humanist teachings which counsel us to heed the guidance of reason and the results of science, and warn us against idolatries of the mind and spirit.
- Spiritual teachings of earth-centered traditions which celebrate the sacred circle of life and instruct us to live in harmony with the rhythms of nature.
What inspires you? Bring your ideas and inspirations to your local congregation—you'll find others who'll listen and may even share your enthusiasm. From motorcycling to gardening to deep philosophical pondering, UUs take inspiration from all parts of life, share their discoveries in trust, and learn from one another.