Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The Essay I Won't Be Sending the RSCC

In preparation for meeting with the RSCC (no, I don't have a date ... the spring ones were filled by October, so I'm patiently waiting for the next round), I've been working on my essays. One is How do I hope to serve the UU movement?

I worked on it for a bit, and then realized that I wasn't really reaching deep and getting my truth out. So I put that document aside, and said, "Okay, forget writing in a professional way. It's time to get down and dirty, because LE, you need to know for yourself the real answer to this question. This one ain't for the RSCC -- it's for you."

So ... I'm sharing my answer. I'd love to know what it is you wish to serve. And how.

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How do I hope to serve the UU movement? How do I hope to serve the UU movement? By pouring my time, energy and soul into making us something other than a “non of the above” option for those who want to be around like-minded people, want their kids to learn something innocuous about religion, but don’t want to actually, you know, have to drive too far or give too much or change.

I want to be an apostle, rooted in the challenging values of Unitarian Universalism, who knocks on doors, and rolls up her sleeves, and sweats and cries and works her ASS off, because this is a *&$!! hard religion to be in. Things that Jesus said, like how not one single sheep is expendable and we’re supposed to give and give and give and then give some more – Unitarian Universalism is about that kind of thing, and we don’t get the easy out of spouting a sentence and knowing then that we’re saved. Because we know down deep in our heart of hearts that salvation is an ongoing process and we are responsible both for saving others and allowing ourselves to be saved, because when we allow someone else to save us, we’re granting them salvation, too. And it’s all mixed up and mashed around and it’s hard hard HARD but not only is the end result one of joy, the process itself can be full of joy.

We each are born with a soul, intact, and ready, but we have to strengthen those souls. They need some nurturing, but they also need some work blisters, because that’s how they grow and expand, and get stronger.

And so my job is to minister. Which means holding someone in my arms whose heart is breaking, and sobbing with her. And lifting up a new baby, a new member, a new marriage, a new adult and saying, THIS is a holy time and a celebration, and consecrating the moment. And pushing someone when they’re ready to hop into a new phase of understanding, but they just keep dipping their toe in, again and again and again. And grabbing someone by the coattails when they feel they’re about to blow away. And standing up in the pulpit and telling an entire community that THIS is who we are and THIS is what we’re supposed to do and GO OUT and fill in the details yourselves because YOUR details will not be the same as HIS details, just be sure to come back and tell us about all those details YOU discovered because your details just might be exactly the details that SHE has been searching for, but didn’t know where to look.

How do I hope to serve the UU movement? With all of my heart, soul, mind, and strength, because anything less would be cheating myself, my friends, my family, my church, all the people who have molded and shaped me, given me their attention, their love, their criticism, and their tortilla soup.

And I don’t know how I’m going to do it yet. It’s going to take a lot of passion and energy and it’s going to mean that I swing for the fences, knowing that sometimes I am going to crash and burn in phenomenal failures. I sympathize with Noah’s God, just toss them all away and start fresh, but I don’t think that’s fair to the people who are already dedicated UUs who want to do great things and are just itching for the chance. I have visited many UU churches and I have yet to walk into one where I did not LOVE the people in them, cranky, change-averse, and obstinate though they might be. Because they are Unitarian Universalists and at the end of the day, they want a world where everyone is fed, clothed, educated, and cared for. They want to live with the privilege of the “illimitable mind.” They want justice and fairness and heavenly earth. They want The Kingdom of God even if they choke on the word God and try to replace Kingdom with a more gender- and democratically- inclusive word.

They are my people and together, with all the others who we just have to reach out to, just have to prove a little of ourselves to, we CAN build a world. Because it’s not enough to serve the “UU Movement.” I, and they, are here to BUILD a world and SERVE a world.

So, there, that’s how I’m going to “serve the UU movement.” I’m going to help BUILD a world, and SERVE a world, and most of all, LOVE THE HELL out of this world.

10 comments:

EmJay said...

Okay then...I'm ready to love right along side of you and be a part of the pushing, pulling, building and serving. As a lay person and member of a midwestern UU church I think we need more folks just like you. Seriously, I am ready to walk along with you in whatever way we can.

Jess said...

Girl, go ahead and send this one. :-) And PREACH it!!

Anonymous said...

"And pushing someone when they’re ready to hop into a new phase of understanding, but they just keep dipping their toe in, again and again and again."

I love this, and your whole essay. How I wish the committee and the actual MFC could just wallow in this truth. I also wish you were closer to me so you could reach me and give me one swift kick into the new depths.

ms. kitty said...

Glad you put it out there, LE! It's terrific.

hysteric cleric said...

Yes, you will do that. This is authentic, LE; it's you. And it's a great first draft for the real essay. Seriously; it needs a few tweaks, but not much; I hope you go with it. Don't change a word of the last sentence.

(And what's this BS about "patiently waiting for the next round"? You can pester them until they give you an interview. I hope no committee's appointment schedule limits the access the world has to your ministry any longer than it has to.)

Oh, and one other thing: http://www.bobdylan.com/#/songs/gotta-serve-somebody

:)

Stacy Strunk said...

My favorite part was "Because we know down deep in our heart of hearts that salvation is an ongoing process and we are responsible both for saving others and allowing ourselves to be saved, because when we allow someone else to save us, we’re granting them salvation, too. " It has got one mother of a run-on sentence in it, but I love the message.

I think, from an writing perspective, if you lose the first 'graph and watch your dangling participles, you have one HELL of an essay on your hands.

Earthbound Spirit said...

My only quibble (and it's a matter of opinion only) is that I think our souls must be grown - they're not intact and ready at birth.

Otherwise... Amen and hallelujah!

Lizard Eater said...

@everyone: Thank you so much for your comments, every single one of you. What wonderful encouragement you have given me, not only in what I want to do, but with the essay itself.

I shall send it! (Cleaned up a bit.)

And expect to hear more from EBS and myself about soul and other things. I'm setting up a blog where we can all share our thoughts on the big questions of life. First up: What is a soul? Be thinking of your answer ...

Anonymous said...

If there is anything I could do that I think would be of profound service to UUism it would be to get everyone to stop calling it a "movement."

A movement is a grassroots organization that is trying to reform an establishment and has a beginning and end. A movement is an orchestral piece of music that is part of a larger whole that has a beginning and end. A movement is something you have when you’ve been eating cheese for three days and something finally breaks loose.

Please stop. Ministers. Seminarians. Lay leaders, please stop. It is a religion. Not a denomination. Not a movement, a religion.

The UU consolidation happened in 1961. I think the reform period is over.

Lizard Eater said...

@Anonymous: Well, I'm just going with the essay topics they gave me, and that's how they phrased it. I have enough other hills I'm willing to die on; I think I'll pass on that one.