Some of the material I've been reading lately seems to take itself more seriously, and I like the idea that convictions about ideas may prove consequential in some "ultimate" way. In the interest of putting my money where my mouth has been, I went with my wife to a Unitarian Universalist church this morning. With all of my recent interest in theologies of unity, "the One," etc., it seemed a kind of next logical step.
By chance (!?), my first visit to the UU church of Charlotte fell on Carnival Sunday -- the last Sunday before Lent. The "program" for the service included a quote from Henry David Thoreau on the cover, so they sort of had me at hello.
The first five items on the agenda were: 1) Our Un-Principles, 2) Prey-Lewd ("Anything Goes," by Cole Porter), 3) An Unprofessional Processional, 4) Opening Worms (see "can of"), and 5) Opium Hymn.
No worries, we sang a "Her" later (an equal opportunity designation, the program said).
Then we listened to some "Inflammatory Words" before singing the Chorus:
We sing this tune most every time.Then we sang "Singin' in the Rain," had a "Time of Deflection," told some George W. Bush jokes, jokes about Unitarian Universalism ("You might be a UU if you call your pastor and say, ine tones full of worry and anxiousness, "I think I'm... starting to believe in God!")... and then came my favorite moment. We all stood to read in union, in our dry, monotonous collective voice, we read from the program:
It transports us to the sublime.
It always has a certain rhyme.
Except today, when it does not.
Then the "Welcome," then the "Concerns of the Congregation" (which bordered on serious), then the "Meditation and Exasperation," a word about how a 5% tithe is sufficient, and then the closing hymn. Then the choir (dressed as various Carnival goers) and the preacher & lay-leader (cross dressing) threw beads to the congregation.
Blah, blah, blah.
Every week, we do these inane readings.
None of us ever pays attention to the words.
We just drone on and on, pretending to care.
We'd never notice if it were all pure nonsense.
We're just happy when it is over
And we can sit back down again.
[Honestly, I couldn't make it through this part: I started laughing and didn't stop until I was crying.]
I guess it's not like that every week, but they've certainly earned a second chance in my book. I'm not saying I'd die for it, yet; but I'm glad I let some new ideas guide me into a new experience, rather than just leading to another conference paper proposal.