I don’t feel like going over U.S. racial history right now, so if you don’t know what I mean when I talk about passing–email me and I’ll talk to you about it.
Now…I’m not saying that I’m leaving Unitarian Universalism today…I’m here at least until the end of my internship in July…but….
Earlier this year John Katz wrote: Damn right I don’t listen to music that promotes violence, misogyny, and homophobia. Nor do I wallow in a pop culture that actively exploits anti-intellectualism.
And last week he wrote: But to me both authors [Paul Rasor and Rosemary Bray McNatt] seemed almost frantic to expand our numbers, and at the same time almost eager to compromise who we are in order to do so.
Just exactly who are we? And why is it that the implication is that the only “good” UU is the upper-middle and upper class Anglo-Saxon one?
I’m tired of being constantly asked to pass. I’m tired of having to decide how much of myself I will be able to bring into whatever UU church I walk into.
Yes…I listen to Jay-Z, T.I.,Eminem, Snoop Dogg and Dr. Dre and still mourn the loss of Tupac. Yes…I read Omar Tyree and Wahida Clark. Yes…I think one of the best music videos ever done was Ice Cube’s “Today Was A Good Day.” Yes…I watch Divorce Court and Maury and All My Children.
Yes…I am college educated and working on an M.Div. Yes…I watch Charlie Rose and Masterpiece Theatre and have fallen in love with Law and Order:UK. Yes…I read the New York Times and Barbara Kingsolver and Walter Brueggemann and have a list of books by Richard Rorty and Julia Cameron and Anthony Pinn that I plan to read. Yes…I listen to Copeland and Mendelssohn, Coltrain and Miles Davis.
So Mr. Katz, did the UU church compromise itself when I walked in the door? What was I supposed to be other than who I am? Am I not good enough for your UU church?
Why should I give up listening to Jay-Z just because I join a UU church? To satisfy your elitist vision of what UUism is (and just so you know I happen to know the difference between someone being elite and being elitist)? Why do I have to pass in order to make you feel comfortable? Why is your culture the standard?
One of my favorite church songs when I was growing up (and one I still sing sometimes) was “Just As I Am.” If you want to know why most UU churches aren’t growing, I’ll tell you. It’s because we don’t take people just as they are and tell them that they have to give up some part of themselves in order to be accepted by us. That is the reason I will leave Unitarian Universalism. I refuse to pass and I’m tired of being asked to.
Coda: After reading the comments, I’ve come to realize that maybe I titled this post wrong. I probably should have titled it I Refuse To Pass…or Why I MIGHT Leave Unitarian Universalist. However, I think I’m using the English language right the way I used it–by saying that X will be the reason Y happens. Anyway…I’m not leaving just yet; although I think I’m going to be splitting my time between a UU church and another church in whatever city I end up in. While I do have other religious options, I see part of my role as speaking up for those who don’t have religious options besides Unitarian Universalism. I want to make UUism as open as possible–without feeling like I’m being trampled on in the process.