Friday, June 30, 2006

The Hammer of the UUs

I think when blogging makes you vomit, it may be time to set a few boundaries.

Let me bring any interested readers back to where it all began. A few days ago, WHILE ON VACATION, I posted about why I would like to see the word "God" returned to the Principles or Sources. The comments that specific posting generated are here:

Within those comments, I said that I think of myself as a "soldier in the army of the Lord," which is a quote from a LYLE LOVETT SONG. Not exactly a statement of serious personal theology, folks.

My use of the word "Lord" generated the expected UU critique that it's medieval and oppressive, etc. I said that I was "hip" to those critiques, but that I liked the word anyway. I said, "Wouldn't it be nice if, instead of immediately informing me why my choice of this word is medieval and ignorant, someone asked me WHY I like it?" And someone took the bait and asked. So I wrote a little more about why I like "LORD," -- again, while on vacation at a friend's house -- not expecting that within a day I would be cast in the role of Defender of the LORD on the UU blogosphere.

Any number of bloggers wrote righteous, condemnatory posts about why LORD is WRONG, and why we should have moved past it by now. At least five UUs have written me heartfelt off-line letters about how much they hate righteous, condemnatory posts and comments that insult their intelligence and assume they don't know that the word LORD has patriarchal, oppressive connotations.

Good LORD. Lyle Lovett owes me a DRINK.

I have tried to reply to a reasonable number of the over 100 comments my last postings have generated. In trying to keep up with the multiple postings about me and my ideas, I have found that at best,my writings are encouraging people to think about their own beliefs. At worst, my writings are providing some UUs an opportunity to affirm their own beliefs over/against beliefs they think I have. It is becoming exhausting and not at all fun to have to respond to these erroneous assumptions. Cripes, even a light-hearted comment about what I ATE AT DINNER leaves one reader feeling entitled to leave a condemnatory little comment about why I should come to the path of Vegetarianism.

Darling people, I'm a blogger. I'm not the resident theologian of the Unitarian Universalist Association. If all this energy around my latest posts is evidence of anything, it's evidence that we're all really hungry to have serious theological discussion. I just don't think it's possible to do it well on the blogosphere. My postings are typed out fast, with no study or research or assumption that they will live beyond a few hours. I assume other bloggers operate the same way.

One writer asked me whether or not my reflections were creating a "stumbling block" for other UUs.
A stumbling block in what way? To them understanding my theology? Why do they need to understand my theology? A stumbling block to them developing their own theology? Did I become the Pope of UUism and no one told me? If so, I want a tiara!

This morning, I read a post that literally made me vomit: something that was intended to be a clever game and which was written well and with a great sense of fun by a blogger whose work I totally love and respect. In the comments of that post, which made a multiple choice quiz out of my personal theological struggles, yet another well-meaning commenter with a huge brain affectionately chastised me for failing to mention the GREEK etymology of the word LORD in my first discussion.

That's when I went and threw up my banana smoothie. And in all my years of ministry, I have yet to vomit over anything.
I don't think it's a matter of not having a sense of humor. I think my sense of humor is quite evident and in good shape.
I appreciate that my friend removed the post. Like any of you, my religious path is slick with blood, sweat and tears. I don't mind being challenged, but there's no possible response to mockery (which I know was not intended, but my gut had a different reaction).

So, for my own sanity, let me make two requests:

>If you comment on PB, I may not be able to respond to you, and I'm sorry. I can't always keep up.

> If you use one of my posts as a jumping off place for your own reflections on a given subject, I respectfully ask that you try to stick to your own ruminations and not summarize what you think I'm saying, or what kind of religious beliefs you think I have as a way to clarify your own thinking. If you'd like to quote me, I'm flattered. If you're going to interpret those quotes, I can't stop you, but having read any number of wildly off-base assumptions about myself since I started blogging, I have to say that you're probably not interpreting correctly, and why are you even trying?

Please go talk among yourselves.
I am closing comments for the time being and going to make out with my cat, who doesn't care if I sing old gospel songs that praise the LORD just so long as I give her kibble.


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