Unitarian Universalists honor freedom and individuality. Yet they recognize that their autonomy has limits, expressed in the seventh, and most basic, principle of their faith: “Respect for the Interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.”
This “web of all existence” is hard to define. Some call it the spirit of life, the ground of being, the oneness of all existence, the creative force, or even God.
They understand what the character Shug in Alice Walker’s novel The Color Purple tried to explain, “It ain’t something you can look at apart from anything else, including yourself. I believe God is everything…Everything that is or ever was or ever will be. And when you can feel that, and be happy to feel that, you’ve found it.”
This orientation inspires in them a strong environmental consciousness—a deep realization of the ongoing need to live lightly on the earth, where we all have our precarious existence.
That’s why UUs refrain from, and try to repair, violations of the earth through pollution, overly zealous exploitation of natural resources, and self-centered overconsumption. They know that our planet is a great living system, whose future isn’t guaranteed, that we are one with the earth, deeply thankful to be one of its many marvelous creatures, gratefully embedded within a vast interdependent, exquisite ecosystem.
[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 24, 2023 issue]