Home / Ideas
Adaptation and defiance
Climate change requires adaptation, but it also calls for defiance.
Bound in covenant
Congregational covenants are declarations of interdependence.
The boys next door
To stop rape culture we need to start by talking to our boys.
Olympia Brown: pioneering minister, women's suffragist
Ordained in 1863, Brown was the first woman ordained with full denominational authority in America.
Fossil fuel divestment is not the answer
We need a rising tide of pressure pushing for a sustainable future.
Fossil fuel divestment is moral, strategic
Money is an instrument of moral choice.
Laura Matilda Towne: A quiet revolutionary
Laura Matilda Towne devoted her life to a school for former slaves.
My bloody closet
I found five tags that say "Made in Bangladesh," but I don't know what to do next.
What Unitarian Universalists want
Unitarian Universalists share a profound sense of what we cherish and what we want to become.
Becoming fluent in faith
We need to embrace the challenge of using religious language with comfort and integrity.
Wrestling with Easter
We need a secular Easter mythology.
Farewell, 25 Beacon Street?
As the UUA looks for a more modern headquarters, Unitarian Universalists reflect on the symbolic meaning of its perch on Boston’s Beacon Hill.
What is reproductive justice?
Women need more than a right to choose. Unitarian Universalists are joining a broader movement seeking reproductive justice.
The surprising success of lifeboat faith
Unitarian Universalism cannot thrive if we don’t at least understand the appeal of religions that give people identity and direction.
Discussion guide helps readers explore 'The New Jim Crow'
How you and your congregation can start talking about mass incarceration.
The end of iChurch
To build Beloved Community, Unitarian Universalism needs a new narrative.
How to meet the climate crisis
A carbon fee might be the key to breaking our fossil-fuel addiction.
Activism is an act of faith
Our interconnectedness makes the powerless powerful.
Seeing ourselves in 'The Hunger Games'
Dystopian novels have inspired UUs of all ages to think deeply about our society's values.
UU-UNO marks fifty years at the United Nations
Unitarian Universalist voice for human rights at the UN since 1962.
The Unitarian ministry
In 1944, the author protested Unitarian discrimination against women in the ministry.
Barack Obama's Unitarian Universalist connection
Where to learn more about President Obama's family history with Unitarian Universalism.
Obama's religious roots
Despite his childhood exposure to Unitarian Universalism, Barack Obama found his religious home elsewhere.
We should be more countercultural
UUs should experience tension between our religious values and those of the secular world.
Beloved quotes produced by the UU rumor mill
Francis Dávid didn't say, 'We need not think alike to love alike.'
A passion for reason
Reason needs the energy of passion in order to inspire others.
Hold up those lights: 2012 Justice General Assembly
The Unitarian Universalist Association gathers in Phoenix to challenge the treatment of immigrants.
Getting over dualism
Many UUs reject the separation of the spiritual and the material.
It is time for us to rethink our attitudes about weight and health.
Reverence is an organic human experience that requires no supernatural explanations.
Democracy and empire
Liberal religion can nurture the weakened democratic spirit and push back against the forces of empire.
May Sarton, 'our poet,' at 100
May Sarton felt a strong affinity for Unitarians, who continue to revere her work.
Forrest Church's spiritual odyssey
Biography reveals moving model for spiritual growth.
How old are Unitarian Universalist congregations?
Some date back to the 1600s, but 59 percent were founded in the last sixty years.
Cynthia Grant Tucker rescues women's voices from archives
'I wanted to give a voice to all of this experience that has generally been disregarded.'
Partners in justice
The UUA's immigrant rights partners in Arizona help communities in peril.
Congregations as allies in the fight for immigrant rights
How three Unitarian Universalist congregations are pursuing immigration justice.
A candid welcome to Unitarian Universalism
Top 10 reasons you may not feel comfortable here.
If we don't invest in our youth, others will
Totalitarians put their resources into building youth programs. Pluralists don't.
The empowerment tragedy
Unitarian Universalists remain unreconciled over the 'black empowerment' controversy.
What size are Unitarian Universalist congregations?
Most congregations have fewer than 100 members, but most UUs belong to larger churches.
Forty years of UU sexuality education
Our congregations are recognized leaders in comprehensive sex ed, grounded in UU values.
To avoid decline, Unitarian Universalism must risk offering heart, spirituality, and blessing.
Our shadow side
Unitarian Universalism is a religious movement that no longer takes religion seriously.
Unitarian Universalists must learn to cross borders
Our challenge is to learn to reach beyond the confines of our personal social and cultural experience.
Faith takes practice
Our religious ancestors recognized each day as a chance to form their spiritual character.
A spirit of fierce unrest
It is time for each congregation to find its greatness.
'Willing to be changed by what we've started'
Universalism resonates with people of all races, but our churches do not. Yet.
Faith in our future: The 2011 Minns Lectures
How can liberal religion speak and act transformatively in a rapidly changing society?
The threat of fundamentalism
Unitarian Universalists must boldly participate in the religious marketplace of ideas.
The spiritual heritage of the Occupy movement
The Occupy protests have much in common with political movements of the 1840s, 1890s, and 1930s—including a spiritual dimension.
Robert Gould Shaw and his regiment of 'hope and glory'
25-year-old Unitarian led the first regiment of free blacks in the Union Army.
Rob Bell's case for Universalism
Popular evangelical Rob Bell makes the case for universal salvation.
Grace to the rescue
Unitarian Universalist ideas about what saves us.
'Unitarian Universalist' characters on the screen
What character in a film or TV show best demonstrates UU values, and why?
Unitarian Universalist congregations by state
Map showing number of UUA congregations by state and the relative number of congregations to each state's population.
After 9/11, can Unitarian Universalists talk about evil?
Despite religious liberals' uneasiness with the word, we have something important to say about evil.
The end of religion?
Is religion being 'driven toward extinction'?
Henry Bergh: 'The great meddler'
The Unitarian who founded societies for the prevention of cruelty to animals and children.
Before words: The spirituality of Humanism
Spirituality is an awareness of the gap between what you can experience and what you can describe.
A nation of religious changelings
A fickle religious marketplace offers promise and peril for Unitarian Universalists.
Social media, 'the heretic's tool'
'If we do not embrace social media we're essentially putting a nail in our own coffin.'
The life of the spirit
We are discovering Universalism's theological bounty.
The unfulfilled dream
We neglected the Universalist challenge of restating our core convictions in contemporary terms.
What book should Unitarian Universalists take to the beach this summer?
UUA membership growth, 2001 to 2011
Over the past decade, Unitarian Universalism has grown in 33 states and D.C.
Unitarians and Universalists together: A good and positive venture
Despite difficulties, Unitarians and Universalists have forged a new identity together.
The UUA at 50: Rooted and growing
The Unitarian Universalist Association celebrates its golden anniversary.
Doors opened to women in UU ministry
As women entered the ministry, language and habits changed.
Key moments in UUA history
Prophetic witness, institutional challenges, and cultural change.
Everything changes, and we must, too
Central to our faith tradition is our willingness to leave behind what no longer serves us.
Different UU ideas about God
You're definitely in good company when it comes to God-turning and God-thinking.
A faith for the few?
Unitarian Universalists are torn between pride in our elite history and aspirations to be a religion for all.
Great trees of life
We need old people to be our trees.
Nordic strands of our living tradition
The story of Icelandic, Norwegian, and Finnish Unitarians in North America.
Only when we strip away magical thinking can we see the sacred in everything.
Remember the pro-censorship Unitarians?
Boston's elite saw censorship as part of their larger social reform agenda.
Stop the elevator; I'm not done
If someone on an elevator asked you what Unitarian Universalism is, could you answer before one of you reached your destination?
Unitarian values underscore Elizabeth Gaskell's novels
Victorian novelist wrote about social issues, role of women.
Heroes and mentors: Reclaiming Krypton
Why a generation that grew up with Buffy and the Power Rangers will demand a different Unitarian Universalism.
Why immigration is a moral issue
America's immigration system isn't simply broken. It's immoral.
Book review of 'The Antiracism Trainings'
A former editor of this magazine satirizes the Unitarian Universalist Association.
The gift of playing God
What if 'playing God' called to mind our liberal theological ideas rather than an all-powerful deity?
Meet the founders of the UU Service Committee
A new book shares the stories of the founders of the UUSC.
Do all religions share a common thread?
Understanding our religious differences may be the best hope for promoting cooperation.
Theodore Parker, radical theologian
2010 is the bicentennial of the most influential Unitarian minister who ever lived.
The welcome table
How the hospitality of progressive churches cultivates forgiveness and justice.
What can we reasonably believe about an afterlife?
Where should we assign the burden of proof for ideas about the afterlife?
Black humanism's response to suffering
Suffering is not redemptive; we must take human responsibility for eradicating it.
James Freeman Clarke transformed congregational life
The bicentennial legacy of James Freeman Clarke.
Governance for the next half-century
Why the UUA Board of Trustees is promoting change.
Margaret Fuller's bicentennial legacy
Margaret Fuller, the forgotten heart of the Transcendentalist movement and the first American theorist of women's equality.
Unitarian inspired popular nursery rhyme
In her childhood, Mary Elizabeth Sawyer Tyler had a little lamb.
Sitting, with a good Buddhist novel
Telling stories could be one of the most 'present' things we could do.
Buddhist fiction bibliography
A guide to contemporary and classic Buddhist fiction.
A world that is all about you
The problem with ‘corporate personhood’ is what it’s doing to human personhood.
Can Unitarian Universalism change?
Our tradition has always been responsive to the needs of its time, but are we ready to adapt to our increasingly multicultural society?
Unitarian Universalism must change
We must admit that Unitarian Universalism has a specific, sometimes alienating culture, and we must change it.
Waiting for a great novel about UU ministry
Contemporary authors have yet to plumb the true depths of Unitarian Universalist ministers' lives.
Unitarians worked to 'save' Ute Indians
In the 1870s, the American Unitarian Association oversaw a Ute reservation in Colorado.
The religious left
An old tradition for a new day.
Religion and science can be partners
An atheist sees a shared commitment to human advancement in science and in religion.
Photographic tour of Wright's Unity Temple
New book celebrates Frank Lloyd Wright's masterpiece for an Illinois Unitarian Universalist congregation.
Merry Christmas, Garrison Keillor!
Just as Unitarian Universalists don't all pray from the same prayer book, we don't all sing from the same hymnal.
Theological rationale for abortion
Defending abortion from a liberal Christian perspective.
Who says Unitarian Universalism's Principles are easy?
The UU Principles are demanding enough to make me whine.
Forrest Church's Universalism
For Church, 'E pluribus unum' was a civic ideal and a religious insight.
The cathedral of the world
A twenty-first-century theology, based on the concept of one light and many windows.
Seeing Joseph Priestley whole
He's more than just the discoverer of oxygen and soda water.
Fifty years after the vote to form the UUA
The Unitarian and Universalist consolidation process continues to this day.
Reach out to become a public church
A Unitarian Universalist church should see the greater good as its primary purpose.
Message or culture?
Is Unitarian Universalism about sharing a message or preserving a culture?
John Murray's conversion to Universalism
How an 18th-century Calvinist was converted to Universalism.
The human condition
If the ego is about how we are separate, then the spirit is about how we are connected.
Peace Network rallied UUs against nukes
We didn't have to declare ourselves a traditional peace church to be strong advocates for peace and nuclear disarmament.
Holding the center against sectarianism and secularity
Religious liberals reject the idea that a religion is a collection of beliefs that are either true or false.
Imagineers of soul
Our churches should be sorcerer’s apprentices in the art of opening the doors of meaning. Why, then, are we so scared?
A religion for hard times
Faith is what’s left when you stop responding to radical uncertainty with panic and denial.
Our inner ape
How deeply rooted is our Unitarian Universalist belief in peace and justice for all?
How Darwinian evolution has transformed liberal religion.
Be a dignitarian
We can overcome rankism and build a world that honors the dignity of every person.
That elusive more
What do Unitarian Universalists need to go deeper?
Reason for alarm
Books about reason in religion, environmentalism, and U.S. culture.
Women crafting a better world
Transforming lives through global social entrepreneurship.
Ethical issues at the Thanksgiving dinner table.
Adlai Stevenson, the original egghead
The last Unitarian nominated for president of the United States.
The Tyger and the Lamb
Faith in authority divides the self and endangers the world. But faith in each other, a covenantal faith, can bring personal and global peace.
Assembly of a lesser god
Belief and worship are powerful tools for organizing thought and behavior. If others get control of those tools, they can make us dance like puppets. But if we’re careful, we can learn to pull our own strings.
Can spirituality help at work?
Spirituality is packaged as if it's a pep pill for overworked managers.
A bench by the road
The author of 'Beloved' wrote her novel because there was 'no suitable memorial' to slaves.
Though Jesus did not rise from the dead
Jesus died and decomposed, and yet he was right: Nothing is utterly lost.
Early Christians emphasized paradise, not crucifixion
How we can reclaim a theology of earthly paradise.
Some Transcendentalists emphasized self-reliance, but others stressed social reform.
Three in a thousand identify as Unitarians
A new survey estimates that 0.3 percent of American adults identify as Unitarians.
Our congregationalist heritage
Unitarian Universalists have held fast to one aspect of their Puritan roots: congregational polity.
The fellowship movement
A look back at the lay-led congregations that transformed Unitarianism.
Why I'm sticking with classics
My reasons for reading Hawthorne, Melville, and Dante are hardly noble.
Unfinished with Christianity
Most Unitarian Universalists live in tension with Christianity. I wish we talked about this more.
Adapting to children's needs for 200 years
How Unitarian and Universalist religious education evolved over two centuries.
Toward a Unitarian Universalist theology of war and peace.
Is your congregation talking about peacemaking?
UUA seeks congregational input on peacemaking resolution by March 1.
The War on Drugs' war on families
A documentary film shows the tragic consequences of mandatory minimum sentences.
Forgotten story of America's whites-only towns
James Loewen documents the rise of 'sundown towns' and their enduring legacy.
What is sacred?
The relationship of all living things.
Mike Gravel's Unitarian Universalism
Democratic presidential candidate identifies as a Unitarian Universalist.
What is evil?
A view of human nature grounded in human possibility rather than pathology.
America's original battle over church and state
Competing visions of divine order and sacred liberty.
Quillen Shinn, Universalist circuit rider
Our Universalist forebears ranged far and wide.
Pete Stark's untroubled humanism
A Unitarian Congressman can't fathom why his nontheism is causing such a fuss.
Liberal theology, vibrant but hidden
Unitarian Universalism was liberal theology's first home, but we have neglected it lately.
Liberal religion and the working class
Unitarian Universalism has a class problem.
Independent magazines take a hit
New postal rules treat small periodicals unfairly.
Jesus for UU children
New book offers a Unitarian Universalist view.
Drops of water turn a mill
Does the Internet Age augur a revival of liberal religion?
Louisa May Alcott's Unitarian legacy
Did 'Little Women' plant the seeds of my own Unitarian Universalism?
Love the contradictions
The world needs people who can love it in its contradiction and complexity.
Stem cell research offers hope
But politics is interfering with medical research.
Thirty years of feminist transformation
The 1977 Women and Religion resolution transformed the Unitarian Universalist Association.
Does humanism need to be new?
A Harvard conference offers a 'new humanism,' but how does it differ from the old?
America's first cemetery, Unitarian-style
Boston's 175-year-old Mount Auburn Cemetery reflects Unitarian views of death.
What is Unitarian Universalist Buddhism?
The history of UU engagement with Buddhism and its growing significance.
Did James Luther Adams really predict 'Christian fascists'?
Chris Hedges invokes UU theologian James Luther Adams in his new book, 'American Fascists,' but gets Adams only half-right.
What membership means
Our covenant is open to all who will enter it with us.
Our interdependent weather forecast
Weather is the great equalizer, reminding us that we share one world.
Can you clean your plate with a clean conscience?
A theology of gratitude
Gratitude should be the center of Unitarian Universalist theology.
The emerging religious humanism
What is humanistic religious naturalism?
Golden age of Unitarian growth
One person inspired eight new churches in a dozen years.
What demythologizers tell their children
Stories are for everyone.
Straight to Jesus
Inside the Evangelical gay-conversion movement.
Pilgrims' 400-year legacy
Unitarian Universalists celebrate the Pilgrims' historic covenant.
What torture has taught me
My twelve years at the helm of Amnesty International.
Lewis Latimer, African American inventor and Unitarian
Son of slaves invented key elements of lightbulb.
Hungry for democracy
A new vision of democracy is emerging.
American myths reconsidered
Five years after 9/11.
Five years of 9-11 articles
Selections from UU World's archives, 2001-2006.
Secularism and tolerance after 9-11
Sam Harris, Daniel Dennett, and Reza Aslan.
Sam Harris challenges liberal religious tolerance
Sam Harris has good news and bad news for Unitarian Universalists.
Why Unitarian Universalists need a language of reverence
The language of reverence is the language of humanity.
Love as a way of life
Love your neighbor, even before disaster strikes.
What would Jefferson and Adams do?
What two Unitarian U.S. presidents would think of contemporary religious politics.
St. Louis, first Unitarian outpost in the West
First Unitarian church west of the Mississippi River formed in 1835.
Heroes' dilemma: How much would you sacrifice?
The complex moral legacy of Martha and Waitstill Sharp.
Newbery winner reflects author's liberal faith
Thoughtful teen novel weaves in themes from various world religions.
The quest for the historical Mary Magdalene
The church fathers and 'The Da Vinci Code' both get Mary Magdalene wrong.
Marriage in the nineteenth century
The complexities of women's lives in Unitarian Boston.
How the UU Principles and Purposes were adopted
A history of Unitarian Universalism's Principles.
Unlikely partners saved a threatened species
Landowners, environmentalists, and policymakers worked together.
Counterculture and liberal religion
20th-century transformations of liberal religion.
UU Service Committee led on Central American human rights
Fifteen years of advocacy in El Salvador.
The difference between peaceful and violent religions
What does it mean to talk about 'peaceful' or 'violent' religions?
Myths of terror in this year's Oscar nominees
In this year's best picture nominees.
Free speech doesn't justify incendiary speech
When religion is involved, hate speech kills.
The wonder of evolution
Science and religion stand together.
Martin Luther King Jr.’s demanding God
King's God breaks down our divisions.
Ebenezer Scrooge's conversion
Charles Dickens's Unitarian 'Christmas Carol.'
Do UUs have theological common ground?
Two books look for liberal religion's theological foundations.
Two books see fascism in America
Davidson Loehr and Charles Derber see fascism in contemporary American politics.
Has fascism come to America?
The Rev. Dr. Davidson Loehr says fascism has come to America.
Why liberal religion offers a better way
Liberal religious people need to reclaim the moral agenda.
Recently received books by UU authors, September 2005
List of books by Unitarian Universalist authors received by UU World
Competing worldviews of fundamentalists and religious liberals
Why fundamentalists fear liberal family values.
Two new books about the urge to mend
What can we do to help?
New songbook explores new music styles
A review of Singing the Journey.
Reforming a criminal justice system in crisis
The General Assembly considers a new Statement of Conscience.
Making sense of the conservative worldview
Two recent books can help liberals understand the Christian right.
The spiritual in science fiction
A Unitarian Universalist take on science fiction and fantasy.
Hosea Ballou's Universalist manifesto
The pioneering theologian Hosea Ballou challenged the doctrine of damnation.
Global warming as a moral issue
Our use of energy makes global warming a moral issue.
William Ellery Channing's public faith
'I thank God that my own lot is bound up with that of the human race.'
The microcredit revolution
How small loans to people in poverty are empowering women and transforming local economies around the world.
Preventing nuclear terrorism
The urgent need to secure weapons-grade nuclear material.
James Luther Adams's examined faith
Faith is not fundamentally about one's beliefs but about one's commitments.
Church of all sorts
Some faiths focus on all saints and others on all souls, but Unitarian Universalism is a faith of all sorts.
The ceremony of innocence
A ceremony of innocence is a statement of faith and an act of hope.
Modern slavery's bitter harvest
Slavery isn't history—and we're reaping its fruit.
Was Thomas Jefferson really a Unitarian?
What makes someone 'one of us'?
What you and your congregation can do about slavery
Steps you can take to end modern slavery.
Boycotts don't always help, but you can
How to harness consumer power against modern slavery.
The pages of sin
Greed, envy, gluttony, and lust reconsidered.
The fear patrol
Unitarian Universalists offer insights into the cultural and personal sources of fear
Gay rights timeline
Major social, political, and religious milestones on the road to equality.
Orthodox Jewish wisdom for religious liberals
Engaging my ancestral Judaism enriches my Unitarian Universalism.
Human origins and human futures
Looking back at Darwin and ahead at genetic engineering.
Jesus and the modern seeker
It may take an act of great will to see past the relics of tradition to something new.
Human rights and the evil of terrorism
Terrorists commit vicious human rights crimes. But they also thrive on the crimes of others.
The fundamentalist agenda
Fundamentalism may be absolutely natural, ancient, and powerful—but the liberal impulse makes us humane.
Unitarian Universalism's humanist legacy
Seventy years of religious humanism.
Science and its metaphors
How far does the authority of science go?
The reclamation of liberalism
Comparing Fareed Zakaria and James Luther Adams.
Unitarian Universalist questions about war
How do you "support the troops" when you oppose the war?
Adin Ballou's influential utopianism
The Universalist-Unitarian who influenced Tolstoy, Gandhi, and King.
Ralph Waldo Emerson's Unitarian legacy
What do we see in Ralph Waldo Emerson on his 200th birthday?
The shadow side to Emerson's influence.
Power, religious faith, and social change
The challenge of citizen participation and the democratic process.
Ellery Schempp stood up for religious minorities
Ellery Schempp's 1958 lawsuit ended mandatory Bible readings in school.
Religious dialogue in a divided world
The urgent need for Muslim dialogue and a Jew's quest to pray with Christians and Muslims.
We need more patriots
Nationalism threatens the true meaning of American patriotism.
Are Americans afraid of freedom?
Many Americans see liberty as terrorism's accomplice.
It came upon a Unitarian midnight clear
Edmund Hamilton Sears's beloved carol longs for peace.
Why Martin Luther King Jr. wasn't a UU
A reflection on race and theology.
Witness for the things that make for peace.
How to be a cultural broker
Things you can to help refugees in your town.
The middle of everywhere
How Lincoln, Nebraska, came to be the picture of America's multicultural future.
Interview with Rita Nakashima Brock and Rebecca Parker
What to do when experience challenges tradition.
Suffering does not redeem us
Two feminist theologians say suffering redeems nothing.
Can violence save?
Challenging the theology of redemptive suffering.
Unitarian and Universalist roots of the American Red Cross
Two volunteer organizations led by Unitarians and Universalists set a foundation for the American Red Cross.
Pacifists and pragmatists
We are not a peace church. We are not a war church.
Has terrorism shaken our religious principles?
9/11 challenges Unitarian Universalists to think about evil.
Breaking the cycle of violence
Responding to terrorism without promoting more violence.
An urgent encounter with Islam
A reading list in the aftermath of 9/11.
Special issue: Life with terrorism
A guide to stories from UU World's special issue responding to the attacks of 9/11.
What endures in a time of terror: A sermon from the week of 9/11.
Universalism: A theology for the 21st century
To the Universalist, truth in religion is like truth in poetry.
UUA supported publication of Pentagon Papers
Beacon Press and the Pentagon Papers.
Wartime origins of the flaming chalice
The flaming chalice was first used by the Unitarian Service Committee.
Timeline of the Selma civil rights campaign
From Selma to the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
Claiming and reclaiming Universalism
Reflecting on the Unitarian and Universalist merger.
Stories from Universalist history
Stories of Universalists.