Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Relax, Just Say It: Part 2

In my last post I wrote about meditating on passages that do not completely conform to my own theology. How it was intellectually odd, but quite comfortable, even joyous. Some of that comfort comes from my Enneagram point. I am a Nine, happy as a clam to hold two, three or four competing ideas in my mind at the same time.

Here is Part 2 of Relax, Just Say It:

Another odd thing is the comfort I experience in my meditation and the discomfort I sense in my fellow UU's (Unitarian Universalists) each time the GOD word comes up.

UU's are some of the most tolerant, intolerant folks you will find. They are pretty darn tolerant of exotic religions. Anything that is not Christian is fascinating and important. Our openness to a variety of faith traditions is one of our strong points.

We have trouble with Christianity for two reasons. Reason one, Christianity is where most of us came from, we got shaken out of that tradition, unwilling to say a creed, unable to believe in God or at least THAT God and we are mad about it. Mad the way we are mad at our parents because they didn't love us perfectly. This reason is painful and personal. The anger we feel varies in intensity depending on if our religious training was just wrong for us or actually abusive.

The second reason is because we pride ourselves on tolerance of belief and lifestyle and some brands of Christianity are intolerant. We doubly feel the sting of Christian intolerance because it is against our UU religion and because it is against our liberal political principles. We are mortal enemies of the beliefs of the Christian right. Its hard to separate the religion of the Christian right from its political beliefs. UU's don't always make the effort and neither does the Christian right.

At the heart of all this anger is the God word. Even if you believed in God as a UU you might object to the God word in worship. You might feel it forces people who do not believe in God to worship a God. Saying God, in the context of the traditions many UU's came from, the anger and pain some UU's feel, is tantamount to saying a Creed. UU's can end up in a circle of flight from others anticipated hurt feelings so that they never say God, never come close.

I wonder how good it is for us to have this prohibition. Will we ever be truly tolerant if we cannot say GOD? The fact that anger and pain are so much a part of this prohibition against the word, that we are re-acting against childhood practices makes me think we should be taking a different path. Instead of avoiding it we should move right into it and desensitize ourselves so that we can be religious people and live in the whole landscape of religion.

We should have God training. When my son's were going through sex education one of their teachers had them chant the 'giggle' making words until all the charge went out of them. If you walked by their class during sex ed you would hear 30 sixth graders chanting in unison Vulva or Penis until they were bored with it. We should ask each other 'What do you mean when you say God?' Do you mean, Light, Love, the World, Nature, the Planet, Gaea, a Being that watches over all of us, Truth, Buddha, Tao or Jesus? Its a big word with lots of meanings and I wonder when we are going to get it back?

We should chant it out loud and all together until it becomes our word again and loses the charge of anger and pain that makes us shy away from it.

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