May 4–Belonging: Some Place to Belong

Do you know about the rainbow chalice? It’s a Unitarian Universalist mnemonic device for children. The colors of the rainbow help us remember UU’s seven principles. It goes like this:eclectic-candleholders

Red–Begins with R–Respect others

Orange–Begins with O–Offer kindness

Yellow–Begins with Y–Yearn to learn

Green–Begins with G–Grow by searching for meaning and truth

Blue–Begins with B–Believe in democracy

Indigo–Begins with I–Individuals need peace, liberty and justice

Violet–Begins with V–Value the web of all life

These children’s versions of our principles are easier for me to remember, and I am mindful of them as I go about my day. They center me. They help me visualize the person I want to be, the best person I can be.

There is another program in my life that echoes these seven principles. It exhorts its members to be

Trustworthy, Loyal, Helpful, Friendly, Courteous, Kind, Obedient, Cheerful, Brave, Clean, and Reverent.

This other organization urges people to do a good turn daily – echoing “Offer kindness.” This is a symptom of showing respect – our own first principle.

This organization challenges its members to be outdoors and one with nature as often as possible, and, when doing so, to Leave No Trace. Its Outdoor Code asks that we

Be clean in outdoor manners

Be careful with fire

Be considerate in the outdoors

Be conservation-minded.

These strike me as excellent concrete suggestions for practicing our 7th principle, valuing the web of all existence.

But what about some of those other words, like Obedience? Actually, the official interpretation of this word says that a person must obey the laws of his community and country. If he thinks these rules and laws are unfair, he seeks to have them changed in an orderly way. Wow. Sounds a lot like some Standing on the side of love protest actions.

And then there’s Reverent. By now you know this other organization I’m talking about is the Boy Scouts of America. Guess what? The Boy Scout handbook says this:

A Scout is reverent toward God. He is faithful in his religious duties. He respects the beliefs of others.

Wonders all around us remind us of our faith in God, and we show our reverence by living our lives according to the ideals of our beliefs. You will encounter people expressing their reverence in many ways. It is your duty to respect and defend their rights to their religious beliefs even when they differ from your own.

Sounds pretty aligned with Unitarian Universalism to me. I belong in both these organizations.

Maryjane Stout

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