Never was a Cornflake Girl…

Posts Tagged ‘church

Tomorrow night my church, Neshoba Unitarian Universalist, will hold a vigil for the victims of Sunday’s shooting and for the families.  I’ve talked to Reverend Bill about it and he says word about the vigil spread quickly; there’s obviously been a big response.

Despite my mother’s concerns, it really never occured to me to feel less safe about being so openly liberal.  Sure, I know the Obama and Pride stickers on my car open me up for vehicular harrassment and I know rednecks around here might even scratch my car up or leave ugly notes on it.  I just don’t care.

But even in Mississippi, I just don’t feel unsafe just because I’m a liberal.

Debra Haffner’s blog today made me think about that.  She wrote, in part: (Emphasis added)

As people of faith and advocates from a wide range of religious traditions, the challenge is to fight the temptation to feel a little less safe this week because of our commitments to social justice, to sexual justice. Surely, as Mr. McKendry and Ms. Kreager prepared for church that morning they did not know they would die that day because of their beliefs. I have had to pause in preparing this vigil and ask myself if I am prepared to do so as well. It is appropriate to remember that in the words of my senior minister, Reverend Frank Hall, this tragedy “reminds us to continue to work for peace and justice and…that there is a heroic quality in the living of our everyday lives.”

The first hymn in the Unitarian Universalist hymnal is “May Nothing Evil Cross This Door.” It ends, “though these sheltering walls are thin, may they be strong to keep hate out and hold love in.” May that love sustain us in the difficult days to come.

So, friends, do your beliefs make you feel less safe because of where you live?

The best part of wordpress is being able to blog at work. And read them at work.

Anyway, I apologize for my absence of late, but I have been working some insane hours trying to get all my 9th graders scheduled for the year. I thought I had an enormous amount of freshmen this year – after all, I had over 100 failures! But so far I have 480 students. Not bad. I’ll update you on that number after Labor Day. We will enroll a dookie load of kids through Labor Day, and we’ll also have a bunch leave, so that number will fluctuate a lot up until then.

So what has happened lately? Jeremy has started going back to AA meetings, which I’m really happy about. If he keeps going back, I can be really happy in our marriage. When he quits going to meetings it’s only a matter of time before everything goes to hell. I made my mind up to go to Al-Anon meetings again, as soon as work settles down enough to allow for that. Jeremy may even get a sponsor and I really like the guy a lot.

Yesterday was church, and Jeremy got to listen to Connie Barlow discuss the reptilian brain etc. I loved her story for the children, as she talked about how we evolved from monkeys and, before that, reptiles. She even put on an iguana hand puppet and sang an incredibly stupid song about our “Lizard Legacy – stayin’ alive!!” which cracked everyone up. Tonight she and her husband, Reverend MIchael Dowd, are hosting a workshop on Evolutionary Psychology and Evolutionary Brain Science, specifically focusing on how our inherited proclivities affect our relationships and sometimes aid in addictive behaviors. So I may go to that. Anyone in the area is welcome – it’s free.

And speaking of church, we lit a candle for Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church members yesterday after one of our church members announced there had been a shooting that morning. It is incredibly sad – two people have died so far, and 6 others are injured, 4 critically. Our church has a short statement of sympathy on our website, linking to Reverend William Sinkford’s (UUA President’s) statement. The church had been active in gay rights and women’s rights since the 60’s and was just recognized as a welcoming congregation. My church is also a welcoming congregation, which is a church that has completed a program to enhance their welcome of all people. Welcoming congregations work to promote acceptance, inclusion, understanding, and equity for bisexual, gay, lesbian, and/or transgender persons of all colors, races, and ethnicities, both within the UUA and in society at large.

I have not read whether the gunman’s motive was fueled by homophobia or if he was specifically targeting UUs for any reason, but a friend called today and told me she heard on the news that he had written a letter filled with rants about liberals. As anyone knows, a UU church is a perfect place to target a bunch of liberals, and probably one of the few places in the deep south where you can find us liberals in mass. The only thing I have found confirming my friend’s statements was an article quoting the Knoxville police chief as saying they had discovered a letter in the gunman’s car in which he stated a “hatred of the liberal movement.”

Obviously my mother is concerned about me attending a UU church right now, especially one in Tennessee, as there could be copy-cats or what have you. I don’t care… not only do I think that’s unlikely, but I damn sure won’t have conservative nutjobs taking away one of my few liberal pleasures the dirty south allows me.

My title is a quote by L.B. Fisher. I leave you with another by Adlai Stevenson:

I think that one of our most important tasks is to convince others that there’s nothing to fear in difference; that difference, in fact, is one of the healthiest and most invigorating of human characteristics without which life would become meaningless. Here lies the power of the liberal way: not in making the whole world Unitarian Universalist, but in helping ourselves and others to see some of the possibilities inherent in viewpoints other than one’s own; in encouraging the free interchange of ideas; in welcoming fresh approaches to the problems of life; in urging the fullest, most vigorous use of critical self-examination.

I can only hope that one day religious conservatives can adopt a similar practice of acceptance and self-examination. Then maybe we can worry less about them killing us.