Participants in the Sedona Unitarian Universalist Fellowship value theologian Henry Nelson Wieman’s concept of the “Creative Interchange” as a source of human good. Here’s how it works:
You and I interact; we learn something new from one another; we absorb that awareness into our own being; it enriches our experience of the world.
Our enriched selves, in turn, enrich others. This ripple effect enriches to our community and the world. The more varied our experiences and the more we interact with different people, the greater the increase of human wisdom.
Therefore, those who attend a UU service, social gathering, or community service project, are likely to meet someone they haven’t met in other social circles, perhaps someone of a different generation, social class, or ethnic group. They will grow a little from this meeting, and their interaction will differ from what it would be in another social context.
Why is that? UU provides a safe space, a place where participants don’t have to check a part of themselves at the door. This allows for expanded creative interchanges. It’s about meeting people where they are, and learning together.
Different people bring different ideas. A variety of viewpoints can be viewed as a threat, or as a gift. UU believes each new person who comes through the door is a gift – a mysterious treasure whose value is revealed over time.
Unlike other social silos, UUs prefer being in community with people unlike themselves. Their congregation norm is radically inclusive, not out of duty, but out of anticipation of how each new person expands them via their own creative interchange.
[published in the Red Rock News on January 21, 2022]