Friday, October 30, 2009

Pagans in Slate

There is an interesting article today in Slate on the efforts pagans sometimes go to in celebrating Samhain. It is not exactly the type of article that might recruit a lot of people since it presents pagans in a not unrealistic, but not super flattering light. I think pagans may recognize themselves and nod and smile while non-pagans might wonder why anyone would want to deal with all the hassle instead of just sitting in a nice comfy pew. Still, I was happy to see pagans addressed in a mainstream publication without having to justify their beliefs or refute a lot of myths.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

What Is Wrong With UU the Way it Is?

Why are UU's so down with what is wrong with UU's?

I'm really puzzled by this one. I just found Unitarian Universalism and I like it. I still have trouble with the idea of being religious, but most of the time I feel at home here. It's a place and an idea where I fit and and I'm not judged. But frequently when I open UU blogs the subject seems to be what is wrong with UU's and UU churches and OMG-what-we-need-to-change-right-now-or-we-will-never-ever-grow. This does not fill one with confidence.

I understand that churches need to pay pastors and they must have sufficient members and revenue to do so, so I get the church growth thing from that angle. But, for cyin' out loud, what is so wrong with Unitarian Universalism?

Often it seems like the exact things that attracted me to UU fellowship are the things that desperately need to change and that makes me feel like maybe I'm not the kind of person you are trying to attract. I know that isn't true, but sometimes it make me feel unwelcome. I wish there were more people of color and people under 40 in our local fellowship and in the association as a whole, I do. But damn it, I am a white middle-class woman who listens to NPR, buys organic food, doesn't believe in God, and votes Democrat and I don't think I should have to apologize for that. This community sold me on what you had, but then the focus shifted how you should really be something different and you shouldn't want to appeal so much to me. I bought what you were selling because it means something to me.

For a long time, I pretended to be something I wasn't to fit in at my childhood church. I left that behind with great relief, sure that I would never attend a church again. Here I am a few years later finding a church that speaks to me. So why is everyone trying to change it and improve it to appeal to someone else? If I don't fit in as a UU, I can't imagine finding another church that fits.

I hope I didn't step on any toes here, but I wanted to get that off my chest. I really am asking the question, not just complaining. I'd be grateful for any polite arguments, agreements, enlightenment or information on the matter.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Connection and Friendship

I had a great dinner last night with a friend. It feels really good to reconnect. Early this year, the couple who we did everything with split up. The man* is one of our oldest and dearest friends so there was no question that he would get custody of us in the break-up.

I'd been associating with this woman, let's call her Space Vixen, regularly for six years and I didn't know I would miss her so much. I nervously sent her a message last week not sure whether or not I would remind her of the part of her life she wanted to leave behind. I've always wondered if she truly valued our friendship or if I was just part of the package that came with her ex. We had dinner last night and it went really well. It was so good to see her and catch up on her life. It sounds like things are going very well for her and I'm glad, even if I am still sad for our friend.

When I grew up Anchorage was a military town with a boom & bust oil-based economy. Friends moving away was just part of life and I got really good of letting go of people. Once they were gone I just didn't let it bother me. But as I get older, I find these connections are harder to let go. Those people who share memories with me are important and I am willing to work harder to maintain relationships. If I were to sum up my sense of spirituality in one word, it would be "connection". It may not be why I am here on this planet, but it is why I can cherish my time here. I am connected to so many things and some of them much more strongly than this one, but life is a little more whole after re-establishing my connection to Space Vixen.

*Can't yet think of a clever, approriate, and inoffensive nom d'ecran for him yet. I'm sure one will be forthcoming.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Welcoming the Darkness

It's gotten really dark around here. I went to the grocery store on my wild and crazy Saturday night and when I came out, it had gotten all the way dark. The nights have been getting dimmer lately, but I haven't been out at night much lately so this took me by surprise, like it does every year.

I know this probably reads at strange to most of you, but here in Alaska we go the whole summer without ever seeing true pitch darkness. I am such a sun worshiper that the return of the dark usually makes me sad and I dread the winter. Maybe it's because we had such a truly amazing summer this year that I can't begrudge it's ending. This fall we have actually been experiencing a real autumn and I could get used to that. Instead of feeling like I can't let it go, this summer left me sated and the evening dark was strangely cozy and comforting.

This time of year is the best for stargazing up here because it's dark enough to actually see the stars, but not yet too cold to go out and stare up at them. I know that by February, I will be barking at the moon from craving a little natural light. My new(ish) office has no windows which makes it even worse. Right now in this moment I'm liking it. I'm comfortable with season's change and that's a good place to be.

Sorry for the extended weather report, but there is something about this that feels different for me this year. Maybe I'm getting better at accepting things as they are and not what I want them to be. Boy, this post it pretty rambly so I'll just cut it off.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Adventures at the Library

Tiny Daughter M and I went to the library today. I've been wanting to read Neil Gaiman's The Graveyard Book for a while now, but decided to wait for October for the right mood setting. I knew it was written for children, but I enjoyed Coraline. When The Graveyard Book started winning every genre award around, including the Hugo, I felt like it might be worth my time.

So today at the library, I couldn't find it on the shelf in the young adult section even when the computer said they had two available copies. After consulting the children's librarian, she took us back to the juvenile section where the two copies were shelved. I was pretty sure I knew, but I asked why the different shelving areas and she replied that the juvenile section was for 3rd - 8th graders.

At this point, I chose not to inform her that the book was for me. I just thanked her and walked away. At least Tiny Daughter M was there as cover story for me. Then we went upstairs and harassed my high school English teacher who now works as a librarian.