“We need not think alike to love alike” is a quotation often attributed to sixteenth century Transylvanian Unitarian minister Francis David. He is arguably the first Unitarian minister and this quotation is only arguably his. Some religious scholars believe that this quotation was erroneously attributed to him beginning in the mid-20th Century.
I’ve heard it said that Unitarian Universalists can be prone to argument and, at the same time, conflict avoidance. Actually, I’m not convinced of either. We may be no different than other denominations in this regard.
That said, the potential for argument and conflict within the denomination will be great this year. The precipitating cause will be change. A new UUA President will be elected at the UUA General Assembly (GA) in June 2023. Also at this upcoming GA, revisions to Article II of the UUA Bylaws will likely be voted on. Article II includes, among other things, the Principles and Sources. This is the bedrock of Unitarian Universalism and any change to this will likely stress the denomination.
Amongst the stormy confusion, I hope we can continue to take the longer view. I hope that we can remember that although we do not necessarily think alike or agree on how to move forward, I hope that we can remember that we’re on the same team. I do believe that most all UUs have a vision of creating something like “Beloved Community” (though we may call it something different), and that each of us may envision it somewhat differently; and that we may disagree as to how to bring it about.
But I believe we need to stay together on the same team because there seems to be another team out there that is actively working against the creation of Beloved Community. They were marching in Charlottesville in 2017. They were marching on the Capitol in 2021. They’re disenfranchising citizens and eroding our democracy in state legislatures. They are restricting the rights of women in the courts. They’re actively denying climate change. They’re controlling what can be taught as history to our children. They’re actively targeting the LGBTQ+ community. This is the team we need to fight…yes fight!
If we are not skillful in our navigation of the year ahead, if we disregard our covenants with one another, many will no longer feel that they can, in good conscience, remain Unitarian Universalists… and this is their right. I would never tell a person to subscribe a position to which they cannot, in good conscience, subscribe.
“We need not think alike to love alike.” Hopefully we can all find a way forward together.
Nurture our spirit. Strive for Justice. Transform the world.