Unitarian Universalist Congregation
of Northern Chautauqua

companionship on life's sacred journey

Success is a little like wrestling a gorilla. You don’t quit when you’re tired. You quit when the gorilla is tired.
— Robert Strauss

Message From Our Minister

From the Heart

The story of David and Goliath is well known. The stripling youth David defeating the giant Goliath; David uses just a sling and a well-aimed stone. We resonate with this story of youth and bravery facing overwhelming evil, and we hear it again and again in many different forms with different young heroes in our culture today; think of Katniss Everdeen in The Hunger Games or Luke Skywalker in Star Wars.

In the Hebrew Scriptures, David selects five smooth stones from a riverbed for his weapons. In the middle of the twentieth century, Unitarian minister James Luther Adams drew on this story to propose “five smooth stones” for religious liberalism. These metaphorical stones are not physical weapons, but underlying beliefs we as Unitarian Universalists and religious liberals can bring to bear on our current day struggles.

Note that Adams’ five smooth stones predated our seven principles and six sources by several decades. Here are the five:

  1. Revelation is not sealed; rather it is continuous, both in our individual experience and in the ongoing process of science and reason in civilization.
  2. All relations between persons ought ideally to rest on mutual, free consent and not on coercion.
  3. Religious liberalism affirms the moral obligation to direct our effort toward the establishment of a just and loving community.
  4. Good things don’t just happen, people make them happen.
  5. Religious liberals hold that the resources – divine and human – available for the achievement of meaningful change justify an attitude of ultimate optimism.

In February I will be preaching about several of these five “smooth stones.” Let’s see what value these might have in our day and time.

In love,
Rev. George Buchanan