Several people spoke to me after the Service this past Sunday about the “Seven Habits of Highly Effective Unitarian Universalists” I shared with you. They came from a workshop given by Gini Courter (former Unitarian Universalist Association Moderator) that I took part in a few years ago. I am so glad that struck a chord with you all! Here they are.
- live with integrity. To do this you have to know yourself, be clear on your values. Words associated with Integrity are honesty, truthfulness and authenticity. Integrity is a cohesive behavior - your beliefs and your actions are in concert with one another.
- be a servant. It’s been said the “service is the rent you pay for your place on earth.” To be a servant is not to be a slave. But it is to understand that we do serve someone or something. There is something - or someone - that commands our allegiance, our commitment; and for that we offer our time and talent. This can be an ideal we serve, or the greater good, or the welfare of our family and/or our neighbor’s family.
- be humble. Not groveling, not self-abasing. But knowing our limitations. And knowing that in spite of those limitations, those varying gifts we receive, still we are loved. Be truly humble - not that false humility we sometimes hide behind - you know that self-effacing “who, me?” Be humble, and be excellent.
- practice generosity. Generosity begins in mindfulness and appreciation. It is a response - a rational response - to the realization that we did nothing to earn these gifts. Nothing. And this generosity allows or requires that we take great delight in giving. For our giving - and our forgiving - spring from that response. This may be all there is, but what there is can be an experience filed with wonder.
- be peace. This does not mean “bring about world peace”. It simple says “be peace.” Be that peace that co-creates the beloved community. Practice cooperation and acceptance and all virtues and behaviors that this great, diverse world and universe we live in demand.
- choose hope. What other choice do we have but to adopt this sixth habit? Despair leads us nowhere. Pessimism limits our vision so that we all become terribly myopic Mr. Magoo’s. We choose hope despite what we know of the cruelties and inequities of this world. We are discontented enough to want to do something to change it. And optimistic enough to believe that what we do will make a difference - some kind of difference to someone, somewhere.
- have a purpose. For all these habits amount to little without a mission or purpose that shapes our actions, our very being. The scripture writer of old said [in Proverbs 29:18] (Tanakh) “Where there is no vision, the people cast off restraint…” That last phrase used to be translated as “the people perish.” Either way, it means that without an articulated purpose or guiding force, we dissolve into chaos.