Useless Thoughts Running Through My Head

various musings of a generation x kad

Archive for the ‘universalist’ Category

Why I’ve been avoiding church

Posted by thoughtful1 on December 16, 2007

In my last post I mentioned that I haven’t been attending church much this year.  In fact, I think I’ve gone one service in the past 5 weeks, which I suppose is unfortunate.  I like our minister.  She is thoughtful, and gives good sermons.  She brings a centered feel to the worship – it feels solid, not flighty or hippy dippy.  Yet, I haven’t gone to church.

Why?

Because the church members, the church atmosphere, and in some respects, the religion have gotten on my nerves.

Let’s start with the congregational issues.  We’ve had an unstable past few years – problems with a minister, followed by interims, followed by some tensions over the budget and personnel issues.  And I think people have become so focused on keeping the church running that they’ve lost track of what a church is for.  The result is pressure on its members, like me, to do stuff – serve on committees, help out with fundraisers, get involved in social action causes, etc.  Yet, no one seems to stop and ask, “Why?”  Everyone, it seems, is running around like chickens with their heads cut off.  It’s all Do, Do, Do!  And no reflection, no sense of worshipping.  It feels like  there’s no center to anything.  Just a giant swirl of action.

Add to this my usual issues with ageism and married-ism/family-ism.  I am single.  I look 10 years younger than I actually am.  This has led to comments to me along the lines of,  “But you’re too young to worry about that,” or “You’re so young [aren’t you just cute?],” “You’re young and hip, you should be a youth advisor!”  These comments are made infrequently, but enough over the years to grate on my nerves more and more.  My youthful appearance seems to make it OK to talk down to me.  In addition, I know that if I had a child, or was married, I wouldn’t get these remarks.  And that’s not right, either.

I also feel that because of the ageism and married-ism, I don’t get listened to as much as others.  I also believe that my congregation does not handle bad news about itself well.  One of the interims had a session to discuss the general health of the church.  I raised an issue, and immediately I saw heads shaking, “No,” as if I my opinion and observations didn’t count.  I honestly felt that the only person in the room who was listening to me and taking what I had to say seriously was the minister.

In addition, I got sucked into working on a project I had absolutely no interest in.  To make it worse, the people who were interested seemed to leave me to do all the work.  Early in the church year I hit a breaking point and I had a meltdown of sorts.  I said, “No, I’m not doing this anymore.”  (Well, it wasn’t said that nicely or calmly, but you get the idea.)  The other people involved were shocked!  Why?  Because they hadn’t bothered to pick up on the clues I’d been giving for the past two years about how I felt like I needed a break, or when I said at the beginning of the church year, “I’m really not interested in this.”  After my meltdown, I stopped coming.

Another issue I’ve had is that I do not have a good sense of what our theology is.  What is the argument for a Unitarian view of God?  Why do we believe in universal salvation?  What is the center that holds us together?  And why do I fail to feel that sense of gravitas and awe that Anglican/Episcopalian music gives me?  (Note:  UU music, IMO, sucks.  Not completely, but it is pretty lame.)  I’ve been reading The Challenge of a Liberal Faith, but I’m working through it slowly, and it’s a little dated at times.  It has helped, somewhat.  But it’s a shame it’s not as succintly or clearly written as Mere Christianity, which I am also reading, but I suppose that might be an unfair comparison.  Interestingly, while I was reading March I felt a stronger connection to my UU roots than at any other time.  Perhaps because the novel was able to show me something about the religion rather than tell.

So I have been feeling a bit out of it with my church.  And I still sometimes feel the pull of the Episcopalian church.  I cannot explain it – why I want to attend services at Trinity Church in Copley.  I know it has something to do with boarding school and music and my current problems with my church.  But it seems as though there is something more to it, and I cannot put my finger on it.  Is this the beginning of a slow conversion, or just a religious detour for a lifelong UU?

(P.S.  Yes, I have spoken to my current minister about my issues with the church.  She was very understanding, and agreed that the congregation needs to relearn how to worship and meet people where they are instead of pressuring them to serve and do. )

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Posted in religion, unitarian, unitarian universalism, universalist | Tagged: , , , | 1 Comment »

Everyone is a family [bullshit]

Posted by thoughtful1 on May 7, 2007

Kinsi wrote a post on his blog Spirituality and Sunflowers that reminded me of something that struck me as crapola:

Everyone is a family, even single people.

This was in response to my usual complaint about how at times my congregation forgets that we have non-families, and that using the term “family” tends to excludes those of us who are single. I was told that one person counts as a family.

Bullshit.

It’s a well-intentioned stab at inclusion, but I’m not buying it.

When you hear the word, “family,” do you imagine a single thirysomething professional woman eating dinner in front of her TV? Do you imagine a 60 year-old confirmed bachelor cleaning his bathroom? Do you imagine a twentysomething male-to-female transgendered person staring at the MBTA schedule and wondering how the hell she’s going to get to Logan airport in time for a 6 AM flight without forking over $$ to a cab? No, you don’t. You imagine a household with children and teens and the adults who care for them. You do not imagine single people.

Saying that single people count as one family is just a nice little way for family folks to feel like they’re including us when they’re really forgetting about us.

Feh.

Posted in peeves, unitarian, unitarian universalism, universalist | 2 Comments »

Let’s talk about the non-adopted POC for a moment

Posted by thoughtful1 on May 4, 2007

Or, maybe the title should be “Let’s talk with the non-adopted POC for a moment.”

Here’s why:

I recently became acquainted with a UU group for People of Color. It is the only POC group I have ever been apart of, not including KAD (Korean adoptee) groups. I think sharing the same religion is what makes it easier for me to be part of this group. There’s something other than our non-whiteness holding us together. I find joining groups based solely on race makes me feel even more self-conscious and awkward about my identity. At least with UUs of Color there’s other stuff to talk about. And, many of them are also American, which also makes it easier for me to feel comfortable. They’re Westernized, like me!

However, I’ve been thinking that even though they are welcoming to adoptees, there is more they could learn. And I think they need to know more if they want transracial adoptees to feel comfortable approaching their birth communities. I think it would be helpful for them to know about things like loss, identity, and that our insecurity around our racial and ethnic identity may not be the same as theirs. I think many of the non-adopted POC think they have the same issues we have. While I cannot know exactly how another person is feeling, I suspect that it’s not quite the same. For starters, after spending the day in school with white kids I went home to… white people! I didn’t have Korean relatives who looked like me, or could tell me about Korea or Korean culture. Nothing. Inside, I am WASPy girl. Hell, some of my white friends have said I am whiter than they are. (I find this funny, not offensive, btw. They’re very good friends, and it’s kinda true…)

And, for loss, I think it’s important for that to be addressed. I’ve heard of things said to other adoptees that may (or may not) have triggered pain surrounding separation from the birth family. These things were said in jest, and said in friendship. I just think that the people saying them may not have realized the potential impact those words could have had on someone who’s adopted. I attended some sessions at UU General Assembly on transracial adoption. Mostly people talked about racism. The discussion touched on loss, but no one named it! No one said the word, “loss.” I found it surreal. After years in the KAD community listening to people talk about loss as well as race, I found it bizarre that in a discussion about transracial adoption no one was talking about loss. A few people did express feelings related to loss, but no one explicitly addressed. And I think some of the adoptees in the session needed to talk about it, or have it named for them to help them identify some of things they were feeling.

I think it’s necessary to bring this up with UUs of Color because our denomination has quite a few transracial adoptees, and I know from my own experience how hard it can be to join a group of Koreans/Asians. To make it easier for transracial adoptees approaching their birth communities, we need our various groups of UUs of Color to know about adoption issues, and how to be more welcoming to them and more sensitive to adoptees’ needs.

So, if you’re a transracial adoptee, or depending on your politics, a transracially adopted person, what would you want non-adopted people of your race/ethnicity to know about you and your adoption experience? What would help them help you feel welcome and comfortable among them? What have any of them done that’s been hurtful? (I know plenty of KADs have stories of what Koreans have done wrong!!)

What say you all?

Posted in korean adoptees, transracial adoption, unitarian, unitarian universalism, universalist | 1 Comment »