Faith CoLab: Tapestry of Faith: A Place of Wholeness: A Program for Youth Exploring Their Own Unitarian Universalist Faith Journeys

Handout 1: Responsive Reading - Five Smooth Stones

This responsive reading is based on James Luther Adams' essay "Guiding Principles for a Free Faith" in On Becoming Human Religiously: Selected Essays in Religion and Society, Max Stackhouse, ed. Beacon Press, 1976, pp. 12-20.

Leaders read the regular text, and participants read the italicized text.

We gather as Unitarian Universalists to understand, articulate, and live our liberal religion. David brought down the giant Goliath with five smooth stones, but we use our five smooth stones to build a more just, loving, and free world.

Our first stone reminds us that we are part of a living tradition in which revelation is continuous.
Together we engage in a free and responsible search for truth and meaning.

Our second stone reminds us that we freely choose to enter into relationship and community with one another.
Together as people of conscience, we build relationships of justice, equity, and compassion that further the wholeness of the interdependent web of all existence.

Our third stone reminds us that we have a moral obligation to work toward establishing a just and loving community.
Together we speak and act prophetically with the goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all.

Our fourth stone reminds us that good things happen as a result of human effort.
Together, as beings with inherent worth and dignity, we create goodness and virtue.

Our fifth stone reminds us that the divine and human capacities for achieving meaningful change are reason for optimism.
Together we may be hopeful that change will occur toward a more just, loving, and free world.

The roots of our living tradition have been developed over centuries, but new ideas and understandings are still being revealed.
Some stones are smooth and polished, while others are newly found and rough.

We are part of this living tradition. Through it, we become whole, and through us, our tradition becomes whole.