Buncha different posts on various topics has me thinking about how we should focus on what we include, not what we exclude.
Peacebang recently wrote, "My wish is that someday, even the most angry, Christian-suspicious Unitarian Universalists will be able to hear selections from the Bible, traditional Christian hymns, and the name of Jesus in sermons with just as peaceful a heart and steady blood pressure as they do hearing the poetry of Mary Oliver or segments from the Dhammapada."
She had comments turned off, which I completely understand. Sometimes, you just know what will provoke debate and sometimes, you're not in the mood for one. But had comments been open, I would have written something along the lines of "Amen, Sister," and that I'm going to use her post in my UU 101 class.
Over on Moxie Life, the author wrote about her church's Sunday speaker, who advised that, "we should not devolve into Humanism." Moxie goes on to explain that "We are proud to be Humanists. We do not see that as a de-evolutionary process. Granted, my anti-Christian stance would not be popular in most congregations, but at a UU Church I expect that there is an understanding that we are standing in the presence of Humanists."
I'm going with all of this, I swear.
Over on Philocrites, there were comments responding to a post about classism by talking about water ceremonies -- how classist they are, how bad people feel when others talk about the vacations they've taken, and how they should be abolished.
Which made me remember a post on the subject of Mothers Day, by Biddies in My Brain. I appreciated her post, because it was honest and raw and it affected what I said in the pulpit on Mothers Day. However, the quote from a friend of hers -- "... DON'T even THINK about bringing this celebration into the church. Not on my watch. I've held too many women in coffeehour who have wept and felt the pain of this day" made me say, really? Really? Does that mean that we should also get rid of child dedications?
And don't even get me started on the "we shouldn't have a Thanksgiving service" posts.
I think that the answer is inclusion, not exclusion. Have a Mothers Day service, but mention that you know this is a day of pain for some. The Bible is full of great, marvelous illustrations for your sermon. Don't get huffy because someone uses one. Humanists have given, and continue to give, wonderful contributions to our churches and I for one think that having the "opt-out" clause in the God column is a good choice to have, whether we take it or not. And our water ceremonies ... the time in which we say, "I left you, my friends, and traveled elsewhere. I saw new people and new things and I brought some of it back to share. Let us pool our combined experiences and rejoice that we are all back together." My contributions have usually included, "This is water from my hose where my kids played in the sprinkler" or "This is water from the hospital where our daughter was getting chemotherapy"; rarely have I had a vacation water, and when I did, it was never from someplace exotic.
We are not a selfish people. We Are Not. As such, we will not say, No, don't use Christian imagery, I am not a Christian. No, don't be a humanist, for I am not a humanist. Don't celebrate Mother's Day, I have no mother. Don't tell me about your vacation, I did not go on one.
Inclusion is the answer. To talk about the simple vacations and wide ranges of beliefs and all different kinds of philosophers and pain and sadness. To say, Here's another view of Thanksgiving and Do you know what your neighbor's kids did all summer, since their mother couldn't afford daycare?
To limit ... no. To expand ... yes.