Joining Unity

J and I spent the morning at Unity Unitarian Universalist Church. Joining the church. We are now members.

We’ve been going to Unity for three years, more or less. By “we” I mean “J and the kids.” The kids are in the childrens’ choir there, and J volunteers as an assistant to said choir. I attend service about three times a year, when I can get time off of work to go see my kids sing.

Three years is a long time to use a group as a resource. We decided it was time to join, and contribute back to the organization.

The new member meeting was fascinating. As far as I can tell, there were three sorts of people, more or less, in the room. There were the people who want to be Unitarians because they rather miss some sort of organized religion in their life, and this seems to lack the things they disliked about their faith-of-origin, and they are basically nice people who want to put their kids into R.E. classes. J and I sort of fit this category. The second group are the folks who join a Unitarian church because they believe in social justice causes, and they are committed to the same causes Unity is committed to. J and I also sort of fit this camp. The third group seems to be people who are on a personal quest of spiritual development, and Unity is the current waystation on the journey. We do not fit this category. But many people seem to.

The meeting had some poetry reading, and some lighting of candles, and some sharing our thoughts on community and virtue and pride and humility. I very nearly launched into my rant on “I would rather spend an hour in conversation with a person who is proud of legitimate accomplishments than a person who spends the whole time talking about how they suck at everything,” but I managed to keep my mouth shut. Then we started talking about Unity’s principles.

J raised the point that “radical hospitality” is only good insomuch as you still have standards. That dialog with difference is necessary, but so is the rejection of those who promote violence and hate. J teaches ethics and critical thinking for a living. She speaks firmly when she is establishing a position. I think she alarmed some of the more feeler-based, non-confrontative, consensus-seeky folks in the room.

But, the moment passed. The church leaders hit us all up for money in an extremely roundabout fashion. Here’s the thing — I want to give Unity my money. I want to pay them money so that they will go do the good works I support and don’t want to personally do. I would like to buy some social justice outreach, please. I also want to pay the church in support of their weekly programs, programs in which my kids participate. I would have much preferred a straight-up request for donation. Or, even a requirement to pledge something. The slight vagueness of the money portion made me a little eye-rolly. I mean, I am the daughter of two pastors. I know what the money goes for! Here, take the money!

After that part we filled out some forms. Then everyone signed the register from the founding of the church in 1872. That was rather neat. As we signed, we each said what we felt about joining Unity. The biggest laugh came when J signed the book and said, “I’m looking forward to a religious community that does not politely request that I leave as soon as I start arguing.”

At the end, we all stood and read in unison The Bond of Fellowship, which is just about the closest thing to a creed that Unity has, I suspect. “We all” meaning “everyone but J,” who disputed some of the word choices.

Digression: There are people in medical offices across the metro who quail when they see J coming, because she reads all of the consent forms and lines out all the language she does not consent to. /end digression

:grins: I love my partner, I truly do. Afterwords, one of the two pastors came up to J. He shook her hand, smiling, and said he was open to future sparring.

At any rate, we’re members now. This will be the first religious organization I’ve joined that didn’t have my mother or father giving the sermons. I have tomorrow off of work (in order to see K and N play in Tuba Christmas!) so I’m going to go to church in the morning with the family. As a member.

2 Responses

  1. “I would rather spend an hour in conversation with a person who is proud of legitimate accomplishments than a person who spends the whole time talking about how they suck at everything.”


  2. @Spuffy TO BE FAIR, no one was defining what “proud” or “arrogant” or “humble” meant in this conversation. But I exercised restraint, nonetheless.

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