In June, I went to my first General Assembly, which is the annual membership meeting o the Unitarian Universalist Association. It was a electric experience. I thought to myself, after so many years of identifying as an atheist, I really am part of a religion. A very particular type of religion with certain basic tenets and and a wide amount of choice. This revelation comes after meeting with a dear friend recently who discovered the very same thing. The Unitarian Universalists lack a lot of things tat hold churches together. There is no fear of going to hell. In fact that was one of the things that drew the Universalists together. If there is no fear of eternal damnation, how do you hold people together?
I found in this gathering a lot of what holds us together. It is love. We have people who pray. We have people who are recovering from traditional Christianity. My friend is healing herself after having been part of a very strict cult similar to the Seventh Day Adventists and the Jehovah’s Witnesses. And, as the joke goes, “there are a lot of atheists who haven’t kicked the religion habit.”
One of my favorite hymns includes a line “even to question, truly, is an answer.” Going to General Assembly exposed me to a wide variety of African-Americans. I saw people who were part of a walkout many years ago when the church lost thousands of African-American members over its failure to follow through on a commitment it had made to them. I saw people the the Black Lives Matter to Unitarian Universalists and the Diverse Revolutionary Unitarian Universalist Ministries. In my upcoming blogs I will describe some of these experiences in great detail. There is always more to the story.
I have been watching videos of a remarkable church in Washington DC the All Souls Unitarian. It is an intentionally multi ethnic multi cultural church that rocks. All Souls is a historic church that has been in forefront of struggles for civil rights. It has a staff that is a mosaic and the services, as far as I can see, are often lively. It is a welcoming place to be and I would hope that other churches would take a lesson. I have posted many of their you tube videos on my facebook page. This is the first time I have ever posted something like this about attending church!
I have been home with a lot of intestinal nasties the past two days. I slept most of yesterday while my sweetheart used the car. When she asked if I needed her to pick up something from the store I asked for some homemade chicken soup and ginger ale.
She let me know she was on the way home and I slipped out to get her a Valentines Day gift. Conviently there are a bakery and a chocolate shop around the corner. I checked the bakery but they had closed so off to the chocalate shop I went with most of the black men in the neighborhood. I found my trusty debit card and got a nice pair of hearts. I slowly walked home and got back on the futon where I had been all day.
I gave her my gift and was somewhat surprised to learn that the Valentines day card I had seen over the weekend was for her grandson. I went to bed feeling a little sad. However this morning she showed me the card she had made for me saying I was loved. It was like what they say chicken soup for the heart.
I have struggled over the years with Valentines day including having a woman break up with me. Some small things lime this mean more as I grow older. I am listening to jazz, my intestines are returning to nrmal and thinking about being loved.
I have busied myself since I returned home from work interacting with a few visitors and leaving comments on their blogs. I also changed the appearance of my blog and updated the tagline. For some reason I have not been able to let go of the slightly sardonic title A Little Local Color. I had chosen it because I wanted to alert readers that I might be commenting about race and racism although not in an angry in your face tone. Perhaps I have less to be angry about as I age.
The updated tagline includes a reference to unicorns which reflects another part of my personality. I like to throw in humor and funny pictures like this
If you or your friends are in this picture, I do apologize. More likely, you’re off on another adventure with the zombies.
I hope to inform, cause you to think about something I saw or even just have a good time and share your perspective. That’s what blogging is about.
My blog often goes dormant for weeks or even months while I remain stuck in my social media outlets, arguing about the elections. The people who are convinced that Hillary Clinton stole the primaries will never change their minds. And then there are the groups including various shades of introverts. Talking about the best places for introverted people to live, training to gain attention and sometimes talking about their hopelessness. No one will ever love them. It is hardly surprising that a diet of such discussion sometimes leaves me nothing to talk about.
I build up momentum by blogging regularly and then stop in the middle of nowhere. But last week I found a new energy due to a workshop I attended about overcoming racism. I saw that there were several books I could explore and managed to check them out at the library and before I knew it, I was off and running again.
Technically, I am hardly a beginning blogger. But it seems that I have not been using wordpress.com to the fullest. My inconsistency no doubt throws off readers. Sometimes I will just reblog something I read about mental health and or the Middle East. That probably throws off a lot of readers. But now my plan is to be here daily posting something incredibly intelligent about race or mental health, my two main areas of interest.
Patricia Raybon devoted a chapter to the trauma she experienced when her father, when her father fought and won a battle to build a house in a previously all white section of a suburb of Denver. She was exposed to hatred and ridicule by strangers simply because she was a very dark skinned girl. In school, she was shunned and even ignored by teachers who ignored her protests that her name was Patricia and called her Pat instead.
In the lunchroom a student flung peaches on her hair, which the teacher ignored. It was a time when she almost felt like becoming invisible. But she couldn’t go talk to her father because he was fighting his own battles. H had provided what he thought was best for his family which was a solid roof over their heads in a good neighborhood. It was her job to figure it out.
And suddenly a solution appeared. A blond haired girl named Kerry Monroe said hello one day. And slowly Patricia turned from an object of ridicule to be avoided into a girl with desires, hopes and dreams. She spent a lot of time with Kerry in a normalizing process. After a while, however, she made friends with other students and even became popular. Later on, she regretted moving on from Kerry and even sought her out. How many of you have been in this situation where you were the Kerry Monroe and sought out the black student in your room?
I found myself in similar circumstances in the 1960s and discovered my own version of Kerry Monroe, a friend with whom I listened to the Beatles, the BBC Radio and tried to figure it out. And similarly, I moved on and found a crowd that shared interests with me. I wonder how many people are finding that these same dynamics of racial ridicule and being treated as the other apply to us as adults. How many of us seek out friendships with people who look or sound different from ourselves.
How comfortable are we with people from racial and ethnic backgrounds outside of our own? Because of de facto segregation, we can still live a lot of our lives in a world of our own making away from Asians, Africans, Whites and others we wish to shun. Or we can live intentionally in a rich mosaic in our own and other people’s cultures It is a choice we are free to make because we had our first interracial friendship.
Here is a picture of Liz before our Girl Scout cookies arrived
Yes, a complete Zombie, lifeless. Not the woman that I love. Where did that woman go?
We had ordered and waited so patiently. Waiting and waiting for them to arrive:
I had the solution when I saw them in the store last week. I didn’t know that there would be a display at the place where we do most of our shopping. I got a box of thin mints and a box of shortbread cookies and they are to die for. And then, wouldn’t you know, we were home today cleaning house (how often does that happen?) And then lo and behold the young mother with her two children arrived. Now we have 8 boxes of cookies and we are like
I guess we’re easily satisfied. We will return after the boxes are empty.