September 30, 2018
A recent discussion as well as my reading of Mennonite World Review bring to the fore of the compartment in my brain entitled “religion” a pet peeve. Religious groups go to great lengths — that is, they create creeds, doctrinal statements and denominational definitions — to draw a line delineating said religious group from all others.
Indeed the religious tradition of my own family — Mennonite — has experience a long history of division and delineation. The Mennonite World Review as well as Mennonite Central Committee try to be inclusive of all Amish and Mennonite groups, but one can’t help but see and feel the separations. Mennonite Church USA has lost nearly half of its membership in the past twenty years, largely to distinctions of doctrines and practices.
No wonder, then, that some people who don’t wish to be exclusive distance themselves from all of religion. And others gravitate to entities such as the Unitarian-Universalist Church whose seven principles are not self- or organization-centered.
- 1st Principle: The inherent worth and dignity of every person;
- 2nd Principle: Justice, equity and compassion in human relations;
- 3rd Principle: Acceptance of one another and encouragement to spiritual growth in our congregations;
- 4th Principle: A free and responsible search for truth and meaning;
- 5th Principle: The right of conscience and the use of the democratic process within our congregations and in society at large;
- 6th Principle: The goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all;
- 7th Principle: Respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.