It seems very tricky to be writing about how pissed I am at my local Unitarians at a time when every faith community that isn’t white, mainstream, and Christian (Arguably, Unitarianism IS a white, mainstream, Christian religion, but they certainly don’t like to see themselves that way!) must be feeling protective of their congregations and their faith homes. But at the same time, I see ways in which the fear can contract us into something evil, a witchhuntlike distrust of strangers that provides an excuse to prey upon (or at least silence) the marginalized. In religion, nearly everyone who isn’t a pro-colonialist Christian straight white male looks marginalized to me.
Additionally tricky, I’m writing from the position of an outsider. I was raised Catholic and I’m ALWAYS angry about it, I’ve been an on-again off-again (now probably permanently off-again) Unitarian for about ten years, and I’m too frustrated now with forced/performed feminine niceness to even attend yoga classes very often. Religion and organized spirituality are clearly not a fit for me, and I know I should probably just let them go like a would a bad match on OK Cupid. Similar to my need to be self-employed, I guess my spiritual life needs to be self-determined. Whatever is divine within me needs to be expressed freely, in its own way, without millennia of patriarchy, rape, and colonialism to weigh it down. I may wonder forever if that’s even possible. I probably will keep trying.
I am still deeply, fundamentally angry at the Unitarian Society of Germantown for the abandonment and betrayal what was their welcome and celebration during Pope Francis’s visit to Philadelphia in 2015.https://theserotoninfactory.blogspot.com/2015/09/pope-week-is-all-of-panics-parkway-is.html It still feels like a FUCK YOU to raped children, to LGBTQ folks, and especially especially ESPECIALLY to those of us who identify as women. I think sometimes of returning just once to have my name taken out of the USG membership book, where it remains like a bad spell.
The loss of the Unitarian Society of Germantown and the brunches, music nights, and other friend fun that went with it (I still ache when I remember that my closest church friend called me a narcissist. My blood still boils when I remember the lady who condescendingly told me she hopes I find peace. WHAT KIND OF MONSTER FINDS PEACE WITH CHILD RAPE!?) still makes me so sad and angry. I probably should have steered clear of future attempts to join a faith community, but I missed the singing. I drive by the Unitarian Church of the Restoration on the way home from work most nights, and they seemed like they might be less patriarchal than USG.
Then, one night in the spring, in a yoga studio running a Kirtan sing with a friend of mine, a voice came to me: “Go back to church. Go back to singing.”