February Thoughts from the TRUU Board President

Your TRUU Board is committed to greater communication with you. We are available after the services to hear your comments and suggestions. Minutes of the meetings are on the website and my monthly columns will appear there, too. Do you have questions or topics for me to address in future columns? Let me know, tjzabel@gmail.com.

In January, I shared information about the Visioning process that TRUU is currently undertaking so you would know what your board and some of the committees are working on. Also in January, when our theme for ministry was Authority, Gretchen reminded us that we “must continually decide whose voice to listen to, what the truth is, and what that truth asks of us is.” This month I’d like to expand on that.

How often have you heard non-UUs say that our religion is one in which you can believe whatever you want? Is that accurate? Are we free as Unitarian Universalists to believe anything at all? I’ll refer you to our Seven Principles listed on the website, and listed in each Sunday’s Order of Service and also to the six sources from which we as UUs draw our faith. I’ve listed them below.

I’ll quote from an esteemed minister. “So, if freedom is not the exclusive property of our Unitarian Universalist lifestyle, what might be a more accurate characteristic of our lifestyle? I suggest that a far better characterization is openness…. And that when we so open ourselves the end result can be an evolution of knowing that is attended by a terrible joy. Terrible meaning overwhelming in its ecstasy.

This minister goes on to quote Mohandas Gandhi, “My aim is not to be consistent with my previous statements on a given question, but to be consistent with truth as it may present itself to me at the given moment. The result has been that I have grown from truth to truth.” 

So think about what you’ve been asked to do this year. I hope that each Sunday with Gretchen, on each Fellowship Sunday, and all the other events you have experienced like the Blessing of the Animals or the Solstice celebration that you have been placed “on the edge of (your) growth potential and the evolution of truth in (your) living.”

Our “job” as we sit in those chairs on Sundays or as we attend other TRUU events is to be open to new truths and new ways of approaching old ideas. The upcoming visioning party will give all of us an opportunity to really open up to the great future ahead, to the potential for growth, both individually and collectively. How do we decide, as we try on new ideas, which ones we will adopt as our own and which ones we will reject or take more time to mull over? For Unitarian Universalists, we use logic and our inner voice to determine these things because we are not chained by dogma. We are asked to think for ourselves, to practice openness when presented with new and maybe even uncomfortable ideas.

And if we wish to participate in “personal and societal transformation” as our mission urges, societal transformation being our social justice work, we must first be open to that personal transformation. To quote that esteemed minister once again, “In freedom, each of us chooses how open or closed to new truth we will be.

How open will you be?

Thelma Zabel, TRUU Board President

The quotes in this article are taken from “Nope! It’s not Freedom, Reason, and Tolerance” a sermon by Rev. Robert Latham on 11/14/10. The entire sermon is available in the archives section of our website.

Our Six sources:

  • Direct experience of that transcending mystery and wonder, affirmed in all cultures, which moves us to a renewal of the spirit and an openness to the forces which create and uphold life;
  • Words and deeds of prophetic women and men which challenge us to confront powers and structures of evil with justice, compassion, and the transforming power of love;
  • Wisdom from the world’s religions which inspires us in our ethical and spiritual life;
  • Jewish and Christian teachings which call us to respond to God’s love by loving our neighbors as ourselves;
  • Humanist teachings which counsel us to heed the guidance of reason and the results of science, and warn us against idolatries of the mind and spirit;
  • Spiritual teachings of earth-centered traditions which celebrate the sacred circle of life and instruct us to live in harmony with the rhythms of nature.


The principles and sources of faith are the backbone of our religious community. From uua.org