Sunday, March 12, 2017

Principle People

Every day, it happens: I have the awesome opportunity to achieve the First Principle in my UU faith. And every day I manage to rip it to shreds. It doesn’t matter how hard I try.

The truth is that there are just some real jerks out there in the world that really challenge me. Before I know it, I have spent energy within myself on anger, refusing an individual based on how I perceive him/her, and even the energy of forgetting one of the Principles I am called to uphold.

I am not a literalist in many ways. For instance, as one who was brought up in the Christian tradition, I do not read the Bible through a literal lens but rather through a literate or metaphorical lens. Therefore, I also treat my situation of messing up the opportunity to uphold First Principle not as a “better luck next time,” but more like I am not bound by it due to my humanness. Just as each of us are capable of being jerks (and I’ll admit I have been one before), so too are each of us capable of rising to the occasion of accomplishing First Principle.

One of my favorite UU Apps, called Illuminations, has a section where it lists all 7 principles of our faith in short form. All I have to do is whip my phone out, pull up the app, go to the principles – and right there: “Each person is important.”

 How simple is that? Apparently not simple enough. The truth is that our humanness gets in the way and builds a barrier between ourselves and the rest of the world. We fall prey to stress, forgetfulness, the day to day tasks, and even the mundane, which all comes at a cost.

Each person is important. Each person is part of the First Principle:
the homeless person
the junkie
the jerk
the conservative zealot
the radical preacher on the street corner
the woman living on food stamps
the wealthy man in his shiny, new BMW.

And so I ask myself, “Who are they to me?” Strangers? Friends? Nobodies? I will tell you who they are. All of these are Principle People. 

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