Friday, September 10, 2010

Out of the UU Closet

Well, frak.

I guess I am out now as a UU to my family. Here is the story. Since I informed my mother that I would no longer be attending church with them a few years ago, my family and I never discuss religion. In the past they politely invited me to various church events and I politely declined. It is the one subject we discuss even less often than politics and it sometimes hangs there in the air while none of us acknowledge it in our WASPy way. I know that my rejection of her religion and refusal to bring up my daughters in it is very painful for my mother. I wish there was some way around that, but there isn't. She did every thing she could to bring me up in a godly manner and it didn't work. My father sometimes worked two jobs so that my middle sister and I could go to Christian school, and still I left the flock. She is respectful enough of my choices not to browbeat me with that disappointment, but it is still there, obvious and unaddressed.

I am not ashamed of any of my spiritual beliefs, but I don't bring them up with the family because I believe it will just cause more pain. My personal beliefs are not any of their business. However, when my mother informs my daughter that she cannot have a trinket featuring a peace symbols because it is satanic - it can be tough.

The AUUF is starting an official Facebook page and I have volunteered to keep it up to date. This requires me to "like" the page. My personal Facebook page doesn't have a lot of details for reasons such as these. I figure if you know me, then you know I love the Beatles and Dune without me having to make it part of my profile.

So now my extremely devout Baptist sister is requesting an explanation about why I would "like" something like the Anchorage Unitarian Universalist Fellowship. I guess being a "backslider" and skipping church was one thing, but at least I wasn't an out-and-out heathen. (Not the Odin & Freya kind of heathen, but more like the totally misguided and much to be pitied fallen one in need of rescue.)

I think I am going to ignore this request as Facebook does not seem like the best place to discuss theology. If she cares enough she will call. I love my sister, but she lives 3,000 miles away from me and has for over half my life. My choice of house of worship is not her business. If my family chooses to gossip about my fallen state, well, that won't be any worse than when I was 20 years old, single, and pregnant.

Thanks, blogosphere, for helping me to work some of this out. I feel a little better. The point of this blog was for me to chronicle my journey to UU and the experience of a new member. I guess this had to be one of the chapters eventually. Still, I am not looking forward to that phone call.


  1. I joined the Unitarian Universalist Christian Fellowship about a year after being railroaded into moving in with my conservative Baptist sister and her husband in early 2007. If you were required to be a Christian to join UUCF I probably would not have joined it. Primary reason I joined was to have some commonality with my sister and her husband.
    Try this quote by G K Chesterton on them if they insist on dialogue: "The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting. It has been found difficult and left untried." If you want to further befuddle them familiarize yourself with Christian atheism as developed by Thomas Altizer. Good luck!

  2. UUism is not really not as "out there" compared to Christianity as some conservative Protestants want to think. Until not so long ago we were considered a mainstream Protestant denomination. In fact, Baptists and Unitarians trace their earliest denominational origins to the very same congregation in Gainsborough, England. (During the English persecution of religious independents two different groups form Gansborough migrated to Holland. The first became Baptists and the second became the Mayflower Pilgrims, whose church in Plymouth, Mass, was one of the first to become Unitarian.) Our UU Principles derive historically from Biblical moral principles, although we usually express them in a different vocabulary these days. And if you point your sister to the regularly updated UUCF "Virtual Monastery" website, she might even find something there to deepen her own Christian faith walk!

    UUCF Virtual Monastery

  3. I've found that the question, "How would I explain this to my mother?" has been a very helpful way of clarifying what I believe. As Fausto said, UUism isn't as "out there" as it seems at first glance. We're all (conservative Christians included) trying to make sense of the human experience.