I woke up this morning in a sort of dingy hotel room in Kansas City, Kansas. I have to remind myself that next time we go on a business trip not to let my husband make the hotel reservations. It’s not gross but it’s not nice either. Unfortunately, we can’t afford to move. So we manage.
We’re in Kansas City for a religious conference.
Organized religion scares the crap out of me. All of them. The Muslim, the Buddhist, the Christian, the Jewish, the Pagan, and even this super liberal Unitarian Universalist religion scares me a bit.
If you can think of an abuse heaped upon a woman due to religion I think I’ve experienced it. Brain washing, shaming, guilt, emotional, physical and psychological abuse.
“Why won’t you tow the line?”
“Why can’t you be like so-and-so’s wife?”
“Questions like that are not worthy of you.”
“Because this is how you SHOULD do things.”
“You make a lousy ______.”
Warren is the one who attends our church not me so much, because organized religion scares the crap out of me. I say I don’t go very often because our Minister isn’t very dynamic. He’s white and male and has Christian leanings. His sermons are rather lackluster, and of all of the religions, Christianity scares me the most. Especially in light of the way our world is right now. But that is really just a way to excuse my fear and not have to push through it.
Because the truth of it is, organized religion of scares the crap out of me. So attending this conference as part of his business makes me really uncomfortable. Even though it is “our church.”
It’s not that this super liberal religion tells me what to think, or what to read, I can do anything I want. I can think anything I want. I can ask ALL of the questions and no one has ever tried to make me feel inferior.
But it still scares me.
It’s religion. And it’s pretty well organized.
But in the end, we do good work here. So sometimes I sit with being very uncomfortable, I lean into those thoughts and feelings that make me feel uncomfortable, and other times I go out and sit in the van on the loading dock and listen to the pigeons.
Pigeons don’t scare the crap out of me. My rabbits, Quail, dogs, and cat, don’t scare the crap out of me. Nature is my church, animals are the beings I go to church with. I’m comfortable around animals and nature and sunshine and rain.
How do I reconcile wanting to do good as part of a larger community and be my best self, with the fact that religion scares the crap out of me? I’ve sat in on many services and lectures here and I’m becoming more comfortable. It’s not the religion so much as the community that I enjoy.
Smart caring people who are trying to make the world better. Trying to end racism, injustice and hate. And while UU’s have a core set of beliefs, however you practice or worship, is entirely up to you.
So I sit with my discomfort around religion and learn things like living on the earth without doing further damage, peaceful resistance, and inclusion. Simply because, in my mind, it is the right thing to do.
Who knew there was a place for rebels among organized religions?