5 smooth stones

5 Smooth Stones in One Hand

Another way to approach James Luther Adams’ five smooth stones of liberal religion is the whole hand method.  Here are several different examples. Adams’ original essay uses more complex language, which is how we can have such a diversity of ways of understanding and applying the five smooth stones in our lives.

1: Wonder

2: Community

3: Love

4: Justice

5: Hope

1: Change

2: Interdependence

3: Stewardship

4: Justice

5: Hope

1: Truth

2: Relationship

3: Responsibility

4: Change-Agent

5: Optimism

1: We’re always learning.

2: Being together matters.

3: How we are together matters.

4: We do good to be good. Doing good feels right.

5: We always hope.

1: Revelation and truth are continuously revealed

2: We choose relationship with one another

3: We have a moral obligation to create a just and loving community.

4: Good must be consciously given form and power in history.

5. Meaningful change directs us toward an outlook of ultimate optimism.

"I do not pretend to understand the moral universe; the arc is a long one, my eye reaches but little ways; I cannot calculate the curve and complete the figure by the experience of sight; I can divine it by conscience. And from what I see I am sure it bends towards justice."

~ Theodore Parker (1810 – 1860), Unitarian Minister and reformer


Revelation is Not Sealed - A Unitarian Universalist introduction to James Luther Adams’ first smooth stone of liberal religion.