It’s time for some truth-telling. I’m running straight to this roar.
If you have loved as your home the community of the Unitarian Universalist Church, or numerous other formerly soulful and life-affirming mainline-liberal communities and you are a conservative, you are not alone.
If you are a moderate, a centrist, a classical liberal, a humanist, a Republican, a patriot, a capitalist, a Christian, an atheist, a European Neo-Pagan, a skeptic, a descendant of the European Enlightenment (as are we all) and are not ashamed, you’re not alone. It’s OK to be White. It’s OK to be non-White.
It’s OK to say “NO!” to toxic Neo-Marxist Intersectional Social Justice. I am breaking open this silence.
If you don’t believe that “whiteness” is full of evil for which you must repent, speak up. You’re not alone. Your existence carries no racial stain and you do not need to be absolved of political sin.
Nature and Human Rights don’t belong to one political group. It belongs to all people. WE are ALL creatures of this holy world.
I believe in the work of reindiginization, to develop a sense of powerful belonging wherever we are. We are not “settlers”. I am a living being of a diverse human lineage of many European peoples whose intermarriage and blending of cultures over many generations became known as “white”. I am not only Scottish or French or German or Danish: I am a White American, all of these. I do not lack cultural dignity because of it. There is nothing to be ashamed of in this.
I hold deep respect for listening to the unheard stories of people of other ancestries, sexualities, perspectives, and so forth. And I –we– have unheard stories, too. I am an American, one of the most truly liberal nationalities in the world, by the truest definition of liberal. I am proud to be this liberal. Let us maintain it.
I am tired of being silent.
It is because of this that I am unapologetically proud of and deeply grateful for Western Civilization, despite its human shortcomings and historical tragedies which are intermixed with extraordinary humanitarian progress and liberation. No culture is perfect. We all have room to grow, marvelous new perspectives to learn. We can make Western Civilization even better. We can listen, and we have been listening, and we also shall be listened to. Being an “ally” connotes an alliance of friends, not a submission of servants.
I am speaking up because I know I’m not the only one who has watched a beloved community become increasingly uniform in its ideological output from members. But I will not be afraid: you don’t have to feel silenced. If you’re not ashamed of The West, you’re not alone.
In Absolute Fierceness
My mommy died last night and I’m grieving. She had cancer and she decided to end it with physician assisted euthanasia. I didn’t know if she’d actually do it, didn’t know if it would be real, how real it would suddenly be. She suffered from a severe and untreated personality disorder for many years that made it painful or impossible to be close to her as I gradually grew up. This loss is hard because I am mourning the comforting and loving mama I had when I was very little, in my earliest memories. In a way, I lost her many years ago to her mental illness and inability to get help, but I always hoped I might find my mommy again with a clear mind. I am grieving the loss of happiness she felt for so much of her adult life due to mental illness. I didn’t know I would cry so much, realizing that my mommy will never wake up again, that the arms that carried and cuddled my tiny self will never comfort me again.
Beloved Creator, God of the Universe, open my inward vision to the beauty of your hidden presence. This morning, each day, in all places, may my mind be seeking you in love and delight, most Beautiful Presence. May I be able to see you and know you when you appear in the grace of the world. Fill my mind with good thoughts and deep joy. You are the One who looks out through the eyes of all creatures. Inspire my words and actions to reflect your delgiht, great Light who never expires. You make the darkness shimmer in the night with the stars of your inmost light.
Originally Written April 2nd, 2016
I’m an ex-cradle-born-Unitarian Universalist for good reasons. I’m politically moderate. I converted to sparkly Roman Catholicism at age 21. I am Jewish-curious, and am deeply attracted by their cohesive peoplehood and long, honorable struggle with a crazy God. When I was 22, I did something like animism and nature-based rites of passage in a community, but that community didn’t stick, even though the spirituality sure did. I don’t believe in fairies, I believe in birds. I don’t believe in unicorns, I believe in equines. I don’t believe in dragons, I believe in reptiles. The World is what’s real. Prayers and spells don’t save you; human research and evidence-based practices do, but a really grounded spirituality makes it all worth living through. Now I’m a scientific panentheist (is it really necessary to differentiate between pantheist and panentheist? Really?) who believes in a Creator that lives, breathes and moves in all created beings. I don’t claim that this Creator is always or ever going to do as we wish, or can even be trusted the conventional sense, though it can be greatly loved in its wildness. Nature is violent, insane and unjust, and we have every reason to think that any Creator who wrought it might be the same way. But Nature is also, simultaneously, beautiful, life-giving and deeply good. And so the same must be for this mysterious Creator. Such is life on earth. Sometimes I wish I were born in an Animist hunter-gatherer tribe of 30,000 years ago. Then again, I’m grateful for the gift of reason, evidence, vaccines, the internet and refrigerators. What I want most of all is a real tribe I can belong to. I wander, but I am not lost.
“Words have consequences; writing is a moral act,” writes Philip Zaleski, editor of The Best American Spiritual Writing 2004. “To recognize this pays a triple dividend, for it inoculates us against the three daily literary devices of pandering to popular taste, creative laziness, and didacticism. The last item may surprise those who fear that any talk of moral writing will unleash an army of bluenoses ready to censor at will or of apparatchiks who will demand a political subtext to every sentence. But such worries stem from misunderstanding the obligations placed upon us by the nature of the craft. To write ugly prose, or to cripple one’s language to meet the standards of the day, or to warp one’s creation into a political placard -all this is to write immorally. The task of the spiritual writer is to uphold truth and beauty at whatever cost, in whatever way his art demands.”