Freedom and Discipline

A basic Unitarian principle (the fourth of seven) is to engage in “a free and responsible search for truth and meaning.”

The Sedona Unitarian Universalist Fellowship’s members cherish their freedom of thought, unconstrained by church or state.  But freedom’s not the whole story.

They know responsibility completes freedom.  Theirs is a freedom for—first of all, for an informed self-choosing.

Freedom requires knowing one’s options, the alternative paths available to us.  We feel a responsibility to learn and consider them intelligently, and to explore them with our fellow wisdom seekers.  Unitarian freedom is not to be ignorant, to believe whatever we wish to be so (sometimes dubbed “anythingarianism”), or to settle for spiritual anarchy.

While we celebrate our freedom to follow where our mind and heart and conscience lead us, we accompany our freedom with a commitment to using the disciplines of the spirit: rational thinking, genuine feeling, honest sharing , and the courage to change our minds.  (That’s instead of relying on rigid consistency, which 19th C. UU minister Ralph Waldo Emerson, once called “the hobgoblin of little minds.”)

Included in our “freedom disciplines” is openness to many sources of truth about existence and its meaning to us–extending ourselves beyond straightforward logic, which one Unitarian sage warned can simply be an organized way of going wrong with confidence.

Unitarians rely also on intuition, science, and the humanities, on the inherent wisdom of our feelings, on the insights of humanity’s great prophets and teachers, and on our own personal experiences of being and becoming.

[SUUF Member Paul Friedman continues to provide weekly articles for publication in the Red Rock News. This article – or a variation thereof – appeared in the Feb 3, 2023 issue]