Reflections on Right Relationship

By David A Miller

We often hear the question, "Is there a spiritual practice that is particularly Unitarian Universalist?" I believe that there is—living into our covenantal relationships.

Being in community can be challenging. But being in a faith community can give us the opportunity to explore our edges and test our assumptions. Covenant offers us an invitation to be curious and humble, to make room for mistakes by pre-promising that—when we fail—we are willing to forgive and try again.

I thought these eighteen questions could be helpful for congregational leaders as a reminder of how we might—as a spiritual practice--remain true to our covenants:

  1. Am I assuming the good intentions of the other?
  2. Am I communicating directly with the person with whom I am having an issue?
  3. Am I resolving issues or am I spreading them through gossip, anger and/or frustration?
  4. Am I reflecting on what personal wounds, issues, and tendencies of mine that are contributing to the issue?
  5. Am I willing to be an active participant and to work in good faith to clear up issues?
  6. Am I projecting on to someone else through my own framework what they are thinking or doing vs. engaging them and asking them to share their thoughts and story?
  7. Am I actually trying to live the principles and values of Unitarian Universalism by acting with compassion, respect and a high value of our interdependence?
  8. Am I actively listening to what others are saying and not formulating a response or the next comment or question while they are talking?
  9. Can I let go of my need to control the situation?
  10. Can I graciously leave space for others by letting someone else speak first or by not speaking my mind if the point has been raised or made already?
  11. Can I help lift up the life of another or the group in my words and actions?
  12. Can I have disagreements with an individual or group, do so in love and respect, and continue to stay in community?
  13. Can I take into account the importance of the task in relation to the importance of the relationship?
  14. Can I reflect on how my attitude and actions contribute to the tone of our community?
  15. Am I willing not to have to be right?
  16. Am I being the change I wish to see in the world, and that means really acting the way I would like others to act?
  17. Am I willing to be changed?
  18. And finally, can I remember to ask the question, “What is the most loving thing I can do or say right now?”

Photo by Paul Barfoot
Rev. David Miller

Rev. David Miller