Image by AlaskanLibrarian via FlickrFrom a UU in Spring, TX
I was raised Catholic-- 12 years of parochial education in Illinois & Missouri. My family on my mother's side were caring, devote people from small-town America who had converted to Catholicism. In high school when visiting California, I remember meeting a guy who said that he was a pagan. That surprised me-- when I thought of "pagan," all I could think of was the people who worshiped the golden calf. Most of my Catholic education taught discipline and critical analysis and I think that it was healthy to think of moral choices that we make in life, but upon reflection, I realize that the concepts of guilt, patriarchy and hatred of those of different faiths were unhealthy.
I stopped attending church in college. After working overseas for 4 years and working with senior citizens in St. Louis, I asked a "Minister for the Aging" (she served seniors who were members of several churches in downtown St. Louis) friend what she thought was the church for me. The second church that she suggested was Eliott Chapel, the Unitarian Universalist church in Kirkwood, MO. It was great. The first person from that church who introduced himself was an atheist. The first April Fools' Day sermon was most memorable: the minister came in wearing a bathrobe, pajamas and slippers. He spoke of how we tried to deny our humanity. Sometimes we need to admit the foolish mistakes that we have made and celebrate life rather than feel guilt and self-loathing.
Lately I've enjoyed reading Rabbi Sherwin Wine, Randy Pausch, Thich Nhat Hanh and Arundhati Roy. Here in Texas I work with people to resist conservatives who have been elected to the State Board of Education-- people who publicly state that comprehension is "fuzzy" and "mushy" and critical analysis is "gobbledygook."
I've enjoyed reading this website. Thanks for helping people work through some of the deep-seated prejudices, fears and anger that organized religion has ingrained in them.