Reflections on Right Relationship

Part of RR Teams

By David A Miller

A lake covered by morning mist with two empty deck chairs at the end of a dock.

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.

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. What intentions are we assuming of the other and what impact are we having no matter our intentions?
  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, especially those not traditionally centered, 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 culture 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 really acting in the way that models beloved community?
  17. Am I willing to change?
  18. And finally, can I remember to ask the question, “What is the most loving thing I can do or say right now?” which at times can be hard to say or even harder to hear.

About the Author

David A Miller

Rev. David A. Miller has been serving as the UU Congregation of Fairfax’s senior minister since August 2015.

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