Unitarian with a Rudder, by Joy Collins

Last week I was at a restaurant with two other Unitarian Universalists and one “non-UU.” We discussed the latest topic for the monthly small covenant groups. The question was, “what do you want to be sure to do before you die so that you don’t have regrets?” We decided to go around and share our responses over our Greek meal. As then often happens, these responses called us to deeper conversation in general, mostly about spiritual matters. The non-UU, a dear friend with a different set of beliefs from mine, looked at me and said, “I think you’ve chosen a more difficult path, not being a theist, and therefore so rudderless.”

I must admit, I broke all the polite conversation rules about pausing before speaking or making a reflective listening statement. I jumped right in to defend myself, maybe I was even a bit too defensive. I certainly don’t feel rudderless. At least most of the time. Especially after being involved in Wellspring for 2+ years.

And yet why was I so defensive? I do feel misunderstood, and imagine other UUs face similar image problems. We UUs, without a common creed, a common deity, a common book of scripture, can certainly look rudderless. And then I got thinking that perhaps this is what Wellspring is all about. About not only finding one’s rudder, but also being confident and articulate enough to talk about it. And maybe I am at a stage of needing to not only feel my rudder, but to unapologetically share that more with others.

This week in our Wellspring group we looked at our Seven Principles and also an overview of the most frequent theological questions. The questions other faith traditions have ready-made answers to. Questions like, what happens after you die? What is the nature of evil? How did the world come into being? Are our lives pre-destined? What is the role of religious authority? One of our goals by the end of this church year is for each participant to be able to answer these questions, at least for him or herself. At least for right now. And as part of our “faith in action” to be able to articulate these beliefs, yes this rudder, even over a Greek meal.

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