Sunday, January 23
by Sue on Sun 23 Jan 2011 02:38 PM EST
Today, Ledcat and I went to our second ever service at the Allegheny Unitarian-Universalist Church on the Northside. We've been pondering it for over a year. Recent stuff going on pushed me to finally sit down and chat with Reverend Dave about things.
So this morning we bundled up and drove down to the Church. It feels silly driving a mile but the treacherous snow covered sidewalks made walking a bit much.
Random things I liked about it
- The greeters were a couple we know. He was wearing a Steeler's jersey. To church. We had the chance to talk and get to know them a little better and enjoy the delightful company of their daughter.
- Another man was drinking coffee. In church. During the service. Using a reusable travel mug.
- One of the songs used the word "gay"
- The congregation was small, but diverse
- The children went to their religious education under a giant fleece peace blanket.
- I ran into multiple Facebook friends in real life for the first time.
- People were genuninely nice and friendly.
- The message was delivered by a neighborhood man who teaches martial arts to children on the Northside.
- People got up to offer their own intercessions (my word), both joyful and sorrowful.
- There was lunch. With delicous oatmeal raisin cookies. Mmmm.
- Someone spoke a quote I liked. I had no pen in my purse so I tweeted it to myself (phone was on silent, I'm not that bad). Someone "liked" my comment. He was also in the service. Awesome.
- They had half and half cream for the coffee. Sweet.
- I felt good about attending even though no one mentioned God. I still felt God spoke to me quietly and told me this is a place to explore.
- Being on medical leave is lonely, even with all of the medical treatment contacts. I've been averaging two coffee socializations a week, but sometimes it seems like the only human contact I have are people I have to engage. This is a nice contact by choice supplement. There's only so much decaf you can drink.
So it was pretty nice. My concern about joining a UU congregation is that I am somewhat traditional. I've written that I have a secret desire to be an evangelical and I'm not kidding. I've been to two other UU congregations, one in Pittsburgh and one not, but both left me cold and I never went back. However, I've been hearing about Allegheny for years - very social justice oriented, very inclusive, very involved in the Northside and seemingly attractive to a lot of people I admire and respect. I had met Reverend Dave several times at K.S. Kennedy Floral on Western Avenue (Kerry thinks he looks like Anderson Cooper) and found him to be pleasant and unthreatening. And smart. And kind.
So we met and I realized that my personal experience of a transcendent God was not foreign to the UU community and my desire to have that personal relationship was not a barrier to being part of this community.
Structure of evil really whacked me upside the head. So did reason. I can be an agnostic-would-be-evangelical-social-justicey-tilt-at-windmills person and feel right at home in this community. Cool. We'll see what next week brings.
And now we are safely home away from the Steeler Nation invasion and preparing our own little barbecue wings and fries feast for kick-off. Not a bad Sunday.
Tuesday, January 11
by Sue on Tue 11 Jan 2011 10:09 AM EST
Folks, it is a good time to get your fingers stretched and send in your own letters. Politicians pay attention to people contacting them personally, but they also watch the opinion sections of the media. If you need an angle, consider writing in about Chick Fil A if you are a customer. Talk with the franchise owner of the restaurant you visit and ask them point blank if they would support an organization like the Pennsylvania Family Institute. Then write a letter. Very simple, but imagine how many people you can educate.
Two letters today ....
Daniel Robinson of Tarentum writes a pretty incoherent letter that seems to say he doesn't hate gay people, but his hands are tied because God told him being gay is wrong.
Monday, January 10
by Sue on Mon 10 Jan 2011 05:20 PM EST
While I was sojourning this summer, I had the chance to get reacquainted with God. God came to find me in a most unusual form ... a politically conservative Christian evangelical. We became friends and he listened patiently to my questions. We were able to agree to disagree and then talk about the things that interested us both, rather than get caught up in the obvious areas for snags.
And I gained a new freedom ... a person that cared about this piece of my identity and didn't launch into tirades about Christianity and homosexuality (either direction).
When I did social service ministry in Kentucky, I spent a fair amount of time with friends who were evangelical, pentecostals and some who believe in the literal interpretation of the Bible. Most were wonderful, kind, loving people who rarely uttered a bad word against anyone. Some weren't. But they embraced me even when they knew I wasn't interested in conversion and we had loving conversations that stay with me to this day. I feel a little ache when I think back to those times.
The thing my friend has said to me this year has been very simple ... just listen. He doesn't try to change me or convince me I'm wrong or belittle me because I don't believe exactly what he believes. He just urges me to listen and I guess he has faith in the message. And me.
I kept moping about wanting a liberal evangelical church. Which led me to Jim Wallis and his God's Politics Blog. If you follow me on Facebook, you may have noticed that I've been peppering my status updates with Scripture and inspirational quotes. That is all courtesy of Reverend Wallis' daily email. It has been amazing (and not) that almost every day, the scripture speaks to what is happening for me.
Wallis is part of the Sojourners Ministry ....
There is no Sojourners' community in Pittsburgh. The closest are Akron and Altoona (go figure). That makes me sad. I've attended services at some of the local liberal churches and it doesn't resonate. I appreciate the solidarity, but nothing has stuck yet.
So I stick with my daily email.
I don't get the chance to talk with my friend very often right now, but maybe that's necessary so I can *stop* talking and start listening. Maybe the time for me to talk/text/email about what I think has come to an end and I am going to have to listen.
My friend isn't a fan of Jim Wallis ("Marxist"), but I guess that's whose gonna see me into this listening phase.
In typical me fashion, I have to get the last word and post the blog here on my site in the middle of a lesbian and feminist blogroll and tell the world that I want to be an evangelical.
So ... bring it on, God.