Wednesday, August 30, 2006

"But" And "And"ers

I have shared church leadership with a remarkably talented and wise lady for the past two years who always says that she is working on being an "and" person instead of a "but" person. Very, very wise. We would talk about issues and where we were tempted to say, "but," we would replace it with "and" and enjoy watching opportunities pop up where obstacles had been.

(Sorry if I sound like a motivational speaker!)

I know we have a reputation for theological wishy-washiness, but I prefer to think that Unitarian Universalists are "and" people in a religiously "but" world.
If we aren't, we should try to be. Even though it's exhausting and we'll probably always be in the minority, I hope we will try to be.

When someone says, "I go to church, but I'm not sure what I believe about God," Unitarian Universalists can say, "I go to church, and I'm not sure what I believe about God."
Note the transition from insecurity ("but") to comfortable acknowledgement of ambiguity ("and"). Neat trick, huh?

When someone says, "I consider myself a Christian, but I don't really think Jesus was the same as God," a UU might say, "I consider myself a Christian, and I don't think Jesus is God." Where there was a sense of defensiveness in "but," there's a chance for theological refelection with "and."

I met two gals today at my hair salon. One was Catholic, and asked me to explain my faith tradition. I did so, challenging myself to avoid the word "but."
Suddenly, with the avoidance of that one little preposition, I was able to describe Unitarian Universalism not as an un-Catholic religious tradition (e.g., "The Catholics believe this but the UUs don't") but as it's own, legitimate thing. ("... and in my tradition, we affirm the priesthood of all believers.") It was a really nice experience, and it may have been because I was avoiding "but" that my usual verbal stumbling rolled out much more smoothly. (Okay, true confessions: I started out with a whopper of a negation, but it's the end of the summer and I'm out of practice. ::::beating self on head:::::)

I dare you preachers to schedule a sermon called "Let's Get Rid of Our 'Buts'."
No, I don't!
I was just kidding! I kid you! I'm a kidder!

P.S. I'd just like to thank everyone who wrote in about what happens for you during worship. I have been planning the worship year for my congregation and have found that your "witness" (sharing, riffing, etc.) has been an important inspiration for my process and a factor in getting really extra excited about this church year. Groove on, PeaceBangers. Thank you.

P.P.S. ********Project Runway Spoiler alert -- Spoiler alert*********

I am so ticked off by the results of tonight's challenge. Of course, like the rest of the nation, I hope Jeffrey gets cornered in a dark alley by a gang of chubby middle aged moms wielding lead pipes, but that's just my little fantasy that you don't need to know about. Because I'm a Christian woman and I don't believe in violence. In Jeffrey's case, I have to remind myself of this in firm tones every time I behold his smirking little pin head, but again, I digress.
No, it's the obvious gender bias on this show that really has me frothing this evening. EXCUSE ME, but Angela has had several very strong designs and while tonight's wasn't great, and really rather missed the mark, Kayne was a JOKE. A YOKE, do you hear me? And while I love Kayne, he has had a solid string of serious bloopers and should have been auf'd tonight. But have you noticed that when it comes down to one really lousy guy design and one really lousy gal design, the woman inevitably gets flushed? Like when Vincent made that heinous toilet paper dress and Alison's merely resembled a brioche, and all the judges flang heaps of ire on Alison's head because she should have known better than to design something unflattering for a woman's figure? I know flang isn't a word, but the point is, Vincent's model could barely walk the runway, and Alison got auf'd that night. And please tell me that Robert was more talented than some of those gals who were auf'd so early on in the season? I. don't. think. so.
So anyway, I love Tim Gunn forever and ever but I'm very angry at the producers. And when I think of Angela flying home alone (probably not first class return trip -- am I right?) having simply been driven through Paris just to get driven back to the airport, I just think this is too cruel. Even if the pants she made were so embarrassing I actually put my hand over my mouth when I saw them.


Blogger Obijuan said...

I've been noticing the gender thing especially this season. Allison's auf'ing was the worst example, yes. She had imagination and the construction skills.

I would have loved to have seen her "jet setter" outfit.

Michael is, however, the dark horse of the competition.

He got style.

Blogger PeaceBang said...

My sister and I feel that he HAS to win. I love his talent, and the fact that he wore white on an intercontinental flight and didn't have coffee stains on himself by the time he got to Paris is just amazing. I really admire him. What a nice guy, too, unlike some pinheaded, sweaty-haired tattoe-necked morons I could mention.

Blogger Chelle said...

I think I've become a "because" person. If I can't say why I'm something or believe something, then I need to shut up until I can.

So I like your "and" person PB; I think we should all strive for that.

Blogger Jess said...

Allison vs. Vincent was just wrong, I agree. But this time, I think they got it right. Angela didn't even try to meet the spirit of the challenge, and while the print Kayne chose wasn't my cup of tea, the clothes that he made 1) fit correctly, 2) traveled well and didn't wrinkle, and 3) at least nodded at the concept of "jet setter." Angela's outfit was wrong on every level - who travels in linen, for gods' sake - and it fit horribly, especially the top. It may have been a reflection of her personality, but it didn't meet the challenge, at all. It also didn't look like she put any kind of serious effort into it, whereas Kayne's details were painstaking (not attractive, but...).

Blogger Quotidian Grace said...

I hated to see Angela go, too. You're right about the gender bias, but there is also a bias in favor of bad-a***s on this show. Probably in order to keep up interest and ratings. Remember Santino????


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