That's the simple truth of the matter. I guess I realized it the most deeply when I read Peacebang's post on the word "Lord." Her love doesn't come from the meaning or even really the symbolism, but from the affect the word has on her. For PB, the word "Lord" resonates.
I guess I'm immune.
The words in Micah PB frequently quotes do stir the soul a bit. But lots of things stir my soul.
"Cowards die many times before their deaths,
but the vailant taste of death but once.
Of all the wonders that I have yet heard,
it seems to me most strange that mean should fear,
that death, a necessary end, will come when it will come"*
Stirs my soul just as much, to be honest.
And even less dramatically phrased sentiments,
"It may be better to be a live jackal than a dead lion, but it is better still to be a live lion. And usually easier."+
The bible, and biblical terminology, has no special ability to move me.
I've known that for awhile, though. Linguist Friend had never been to a Christian Sunday Morning Church service before, so a few years ago I took him to Church of the Pilgrims, the Presbyterian church I grew up in. I really didn't like it. Reading prayers in unison, begging God for forgiveness with dramatic words spoken in a rote monotone. And people constantly talking about Jesus, what Jesus would have wanted, what Jesus expects of you. Nothing wrong with any of that if it's your thing, I've just realized how deeply and profoundly it is not mine.
I'm not angry, I'm even a little sad about it. My grandmother did have me quite scared of hell as a child, and the period of religious fervor I did have came from that. It in many ways had a lot of positive emotions, but that it was basically rooted in fear sort of depresses me. But my grandmother interpreted everything to her own ends, so I don't blame Christianity.
I do have a quiet sort of faith these days, a little stream flowing through my life. But it's not the bucking ocean of salvation and sacrifice that Christianity was. As a kid, I was God's warrior, out to valiantly resist the forces of evil and save my own soul in an epic struggle. Now the holy would like me to pick up a carton of milk on the way home, if that's OK, and if, by the way, I could do a little bit to help the people in my life strive for the highest and best, that would be nice.
I realize that's lacking in passion, but it's where I am.
The Christians I've known did not abuse me, they in the great majority have treated me well. My issue is not that Christians have done bad things, though they have. I do agree with Kim that it is a bit disingenous for the Christians here to pretend that the instutition of Christianity had little to do with that, though I get that people here are going for the good things Christianity encourages without the bad things it also tends to encourage. Kim's analogy that what they are saying is like pretending that the institution of slavery had nothing to do with slavery, slavery was just individual slaveholders is a more inflammatory comparison than I would have chosen, but I still think her basic premise has merit. My analogy would be have been capitalism, but I won't bother to fully sketch that one out.
At the same time, the drama of everybody's reaction to Kim's relatively minor verbal slights at the beginning of this suggests to me that Christians who feel they've been taking grief from athiests for years saw a few more shots across their bow than Kim actually fired. (Though, I have to say that I have a thing about passive-agressive "I'm sorry you took that rude thing I said as rude, a misunderstanding that occurred because you have the following flaws..." apologies, so I do have some sympathy for both sides. I had a boyfriend once who pulled the "saying something obviously insulting, then pretending that if you actually were insulted, you must be oversensitive" routine a lot. He and I didn't last long. If you're sorry, apologise genuinely. If you're not, don't apologise at all. It's just that simple.)
So I don't know what to do. I don't know what UUism should do. I agree with Jamie that I don't want the Christians in UUism to be hurting all the time.
But Christianity as a practice doesn't feed my soul the way a more humanist approach does. I'm OK with a balanced approach, but it sounds like a balanced approach isn't enough for the Christian folks. But what they want I don't think would work for me.
It's not because I'm a Christianity-hater, I'm not. That the Christian approach doesn't work for me just seems to be the way it is.
I would suggest letting people vote with their feet on what kind of services they want, but what people want isn't always what they need. I don't percieve Christianity is what I need, but I'm not going to completely deny the possibility. On beliefnet there was a lady who would occaisionally inform the angrier folks that they "needed Jesus." I always agreed with her that they needed something, though I would have had a different word for it.
So enough bitching at each other already. How do we make this work?
ADDED LATER: LF clarifies that he went to chapel and some Sunday services at boarding school as a kid. He also takes issue with my spelling.
*Shakespere's Julius Caesar, but you knew that.
+Heinlen's Time enough for Love, and yes I know that one's roots in Ecclesiasties, but I prefer Heinlen's take.