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Of Wonder and Mystery: The Six Sources as Roots

By Wendy Weiss, Programs & Membership Coordinator

What do UU’s believe? What is the source of UU faith? How do we claim a tradition that lives with uncertainty at its root and no single, unifying text or lineage or creed? In the realm of religions, Unitarian Universalism is a conundrum, a paradox, a puzzle. How do people from different faith backgrounds and with different personal beliefs worship together within one congregation, one denomination?

This Sunday, the Worship Team and I will explore these questions through the lens of the Six Sources. While most UUs are familiar with the seven Principles, the six sources are not as often discussed in UU communities. For me, the six sources are where I first began to identify, where I felt recognized within the UU paradigm. I saw my beliefs reflected in a compilation of sources. I saw choice and nuance and freedom in an embracing of the many. I could be in dynamic relation with multiple ways of knowing.

So this is what it means to be in a “living tradition.” The tradition itself is growing and evolving and adapting, moving with the times and the people who interact, interrelate with it. The tradition itself is in exchange with congregations and with each individual within a congregation. Of course, this is not unique to Unitarian Universalism, but it is a phenomenon with a unique expression not only in our denomination but in our own Westside congregation as well.

In our service, each of the six sources will be presented by a Worship Team member (noted in parenthesis below) with whom it most resonated. We each naturally chose a different one, without overlap, in our discussion around who would speak to which. Each of us was clear about our choice. We knew which one we were most drawn to, even if we are still discovering, uncovering why. The reasons are yet to be revealed to ourselves and each other. What wonder and mystery awaits us in this Sunday’s service!

These are the six sources our congregations affirm and promote:

• 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; (Wendy Weiss)

• Words and deeds of prophetic people which challenge us to confront powers and structures of evil with justice, compassion, and the transforming power of love; (Ellen Greenwood)

• Wisdom from the world's religions which inspires us in our ethical and spiritual life; (Linda Fippin)

• Jewish and Christian teachings which call us to respond to God's love by loving our neighbors as ourselves; (Chris Edkins)

• 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; (Suzanne Molnar)

• 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. (Wendy Weiss)

Join us! Our worship services are held on Zoom at 10 am each Sunday. Please contact Wendy if you would like the Zoom link:

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