Monday, November 19, 2012

By Definition...

Unitarianism is a Christian theological movement, named for its understanding of God as one person, in direct contrast to Trinitarianism which defines God as three persons coexisting consubstantially as one in being. Thus, Unitarians contend that main-line Christianity does not adhere to strict monotheism as they do, maintaining that Jesus was a prophet, and in some sense the "son" of God, but not God himself.

I've honestly no clue what all that means. I do know that I went to a Unitarian church over this past weekend that my wife seems to enjoy, and walked away slowly and very cautiously, like I was going to be abducted at any moment by someone who knew I was not "one of them." My wife has gone a couple of times and really likes the message preached that is a lot like me telling all three of you who read this that my way is the right way, but it's cool if you don't agree with that; but, please, help yourself to coffee and good conversation afterward. And that was the message I took from my own experience. The sermon was about "love" and how we all strive for it in various ways, all which are not exactly right, but not wrong either, which is very confusing to my child-like mind, and kind of seems redundant to even talk about it in the first place. But, I am new to all this "one in being" stuff so I will humor the weirdos for a minute.

When we sat down, the first thing I did was take a good look around the place. The tapestries that looked like some one's grandmother stitched together, hung around like tie-dye towels in smoke shops that play Grateful Dead music on repeat. The chairs all aligned like pews, but without the pews and the comfort and the little knee pads you can pull down, poked into my back, tearing at my tender flesh, leaving long mark that very easily could have resulted in another number not directly related to the beast. 911 in case any of you are wondering. Not that these knee cushions were needed, since no one knelt and there were no idols in the room that I could see. I did see a basket, which I assumed were filled with snakes or baby seals to club after mass, a vase filled with water and pebbles, which I will get to in a minute, and a tiny choir with real instruments. There was an oboe player too. Raised and baptized as a Catholic, the lack of God in the place was a bit of a worry. I've seen places like this on HBO documentaries, where people I would not normally socialize with tend to preach about Mother Nature's healing properties, and request to read your palm for a fee. But, I am an open-minded soul, so I decided to stick around a little while longer. 

Next came the introduction of the lead minister. A woman who might be gay, or bisexual, or just completely misjudged by my own profiling. She said how great it was to be her and the newest member of their cult church, and then turned the mic over to another lady who asked for all the children to come to the stage. Off my child went, with the rest of the lambs, and she asked them about big ideas, and how God's influence sparked such wonderful notions. They all then disappeared to "class" to discuss more big ideas. My wife went with her, which made me feel a little better, but then later returned without her. I was worried. Snakes come to mind again.  Then Pastor Butch returned and spoke about how people of the congregation asked that she place a pebble into the vase filled with water, which was symbolic in that the ripples are all the thoughts and prayers vibrating across an ocean of faith like waves in the water. Or in this case, a glass vase filled with pieces of the parking lot outside. My wife thought this was very symbolic and connected with the offerings, whereas, I simply wondered where God was in all this. I could not spot him on the walls, or in the sermon, or in the peoples smiles...There was a moment when everyone turned to say hello, like Catholics exchanging palm sweat with their Peace Be With You salutes; but, Strangely, no one said hello to me. It must have been my stench of Catholic that turned them away.

The guest speaker read from his notes on what love meant to someone who was either a writer, or a heart surgeon, or a basket weaver who loved poems. Anyway, there was a message in all of it, a few laughs from the crowd, some moments of silence, which was a bit like a moment of prayer only with old balding men looking around the room, with uncomfortable smiles about their potential mugshots, thinking about something they probably shouldn't share with anyone else. And with a final HA-HA he took his notes and joined the Lesbian at the exit to shake hands with everyone as they aimed for the coffee pot outside. I watched as my wife spoke to a few women about baking methods, never being introduced as her husband, which I found both funny and ironic, since I always get shit from the wife about not showing her any respect, and then it was off to find my daughter.

I found her in a small room with the rest of the impressionable children, holding a stick with a turkey face on the end in one hand and a tiny apple in the other. Ah! I knew there was something snakeish going on, and the tiny apple proved it. Where there is an apple, there is always a snake. If I wasn't distracted already, a little sign sitting on a table that read, "Gender Acceptance For All" further grabbed hold of my Catholic upbringing. This is a church about God that manages to remove God, or the ideal of such that I thought of as "God-like" from the room and replaced it with "Shared Ministries" also holds classes, I assume, on how to deal with being gay. Fine. I am open enough to accept some people need other people to show them how to be all right with being liberal enough to accept people whose values differ from their own, no matter how weird it is. I'm just not sure I am okay with having all of it offered to me, under the premise of god's people, and yet not really about god or the spiritual Lord I am used to. They did say Amen a couple of times, but it felt more like a light sneeze after sex than a blessing of the masses. Then again, it was themed around "love" so maybe it all fit together perfectly and I just missed it waiting for the snake charming to begin.

Will I go again? Not sure. I feel like someone needs to stay behind in case the authorities need to be alerted. You never know about these places. My wife says Benjamin Franklin was a Utilitarian  Unitarian. A UU member or whatever. Judging by the people who were present, I think there is another acronym they go to after the UU sermon that champions the letters AA. But that is my opinion...For now, I think I'll stick with the child molesting Catholics, because that somehow makes more sense than a pebble being dropped into a vase filled with water. I did not get a chance to taste the coffee, but I think I will have to get over images of idiots all collaborating mass suicide, because they were going to board a passing comet, first, if I am going to have a cup of joe with these people. My daughter ate the apple, much to my chagrin, and still loves to run around the house naked, so maybe I will try it out next time.

(A)men.




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