Unitarian Universalism

My Belief is ‘Spiritualistic’, though I attend the Lancaster Branch Unitarian Universalist Church.

Why? Freedom to be me! Camaraderie without fear or anxiety! Sharing without Reservations!

What attracted me?

Back around 1973 I was looking for a place to identify with others, to share, and to feel welcome for who and what I am. Before then, I had been raised Methodist and visited Catholic Church’s, Jewish Synagogue’s with reservations, and a handful of other religious places of worship while at the same time then of ‘trying to find myself’! I got nowhere at the Catholic Church, but when I ended up at the Synagogue, a Rabbi had told me that I had to find my own path. Not in those exact words, but he explained that no matter how many religions push that I’ve got to be one of them or end up being miserable the rest of my life, while also going to several envisioned images of hell, my life’s path or journey would take me in the right direction and one day I would find that belief of which I would identify with. At the time, and this was sometime in 1973, I decided to go to the MCC of Pomona – Metropolitan Community Church, which is a welcoming and openly gay church. The minister was a woman and I stayed with that church for about a year before I became burnt out on the typical ‘clicks’ like what one would find at the local bar. It went from being a great church and extended family to nothing more than bickering between men and women and who was the better to lead the parishioners. This was not long after our original, and wonderful ministers request for transfer went thorough. When she left it all went downhill and I lost interest due to all the bickering and clicks.

From 1973 to 2008, I bounced around from one building or religion to another, but not as much in trying to find myself as I was trying to find camaraderie and a place to feel welcome! I look back on it now wondering if it wasn’t a part of my life’s path or journey to ‘experience’ many of those beliefs to pass along to others while also educating them, which I have been and will continue! Around 1984, I was residing with my late partner in San Francisco and while he opted to become a part of a ‘cult’, I choose to go to the San Francisco branch of the Metropolitan Community Church, but not long after left out of disgust that it was so similar to the Pomona branch, in that there was so much bickering, backbiting, and clicks, amongst other topics! I thought I could ‘fit-in’ since I was also gay, but no matter how hard I tried or how many Sundays I’d walk up to one group or another and introduce myself, it seemed that I just couldn’t fit-in! So I stopped going after a few Sundays!

In 1995 I ended up in a horrifying experience with an ‘extreme right wing fundamentalist’ bunch of waco’s! With some of the members I felt very welcome, while others, and especially the ministers and deacons, was like battling the devil to keep my life and sanity! The minister and deacons were highly bigoted, while feeling that they were the only ‘true’ connection to their god that they talked about! I was told that in order to have a good and better life that I was to give up my own dreams and goals while letting them and their god tell or ‘dictate’ to me what I was to do! My thoughts at the time were to one day be able to go to college and learn a new trade since discrimination runs rampant, and at the time computers were the ‘in thing’! I was laughed at by the deacons and severely put down by the new minister while being told that my life would be miserable if I didn’t follow them or their ways, as well as what their god said I was to do! It was so horrifying and with the gift of the visions or insight into my future, I knew that I would not be there with them long!

Why, you ask, did I not just turn and run while I had the chance? No where to go but the streets, while I was so brainwashed into believing that they’d find me no matter where I was at and hound me until I broke in Spirit and begged for their help! Soon I went from that ‘sick’ group, to one that catered strictly to Mexicans and believed that they were the ‘chosen’ ones and no one was going to have a good life unless they were connected with that group. They have an encampment off of San Franciscito Canyon Road and my first and last visit was also horrifying! My visions kept me going and I knew that I wasn’t going to be in that situation too much longer, though I would be getting into another, but different type of situation after that for quite a few more times, which I won’t go into how many times! I now try to steer clear of religious fanatics, though while renting a room in a home of still more religious fanatics, I encountered another bad situation!

I knew the very first day or time I met the landlord or owner of the house that there was something seriously wrong with him, while seeing an aura of black and sensing nothing but evil, though I still needed some place to stay while hanging in there and continuing to attend college. I stayed at that place for three years and it was a scary situation, but in going to college and trying to keep from being homeless, one has to resort at times to situations of life or paths or journeys of experience, which this one as well was!

One day I was invited to go with this guy and his wife to their place of worship and I reluctantly accepted, while out of fear for that if I didn’t, that place I was staying at would too quickly come to an end! The other tenant was into Buddhism and always turned down the invite while being told that she will never be happy unless she gave up the sin of Buddhism, which is what they labeled all other beliefs as well!

After accepting, I attended their services for about a year while seeing and experiencing even more horrifying situations that I would not wish on anyone else – not even them, but evil always attracts those who are also evil!

To cut this down and get to the real point of this topic, in June of 2008, I moved up to Stockton to take care of a transgendered man’s home while he/she was in Canada at his/her other home. I arrived on the tenth (10th) of June of 2008 and sensed that it was the wrong choice or move, but I was stuck! After about three days of constant hounding and being put down by her with her male attitude, I was glad to see him/her leave and head to his/her home in Canada!

Like many places here in the Antelope Valley where I lived and walked to get around, though also taking the bus when I could afford the fare or a monthly pass, I was broke when I ended up there and though the guy/gal who invited me and told me I’d get paid for watching the house while he/she was gone, it was a fight to get anything out of him/her, and especially without any harsh and degrading words from him/her almost every time he/she opened his/her mouth!

From the first day I had walked about two miles north from the slum area of the city, which was where he/she chose to purchase that other house with three hundred thousand in cash, to find work while also escaping from the house and the sense or feeling he/she left behind even though he/she was miles away!

Several times on my walks north, I had passed by a church with a ‘Rainbow Flag’ hanging on the side of the building and though part of me wanted to stop and ask if it was a ‘gay welcoming’ church, the other part of me was afraid due to all the hate I experienced from a select few parishes and people in the Antelope Valley, though Stockton seemed no different at the time, especially when you have to face the ‘Wrath of Kahn’ with a transgendered male who still has his male thoughts – anyone can have a sex change, but they can never have their souls or minds or thoughts or feelings changed. That has to come from within!

After passing by this church several times I decided to take the chance and stop to ask what they were about, but found that they were closed and ended up calling the number listed on their door. To my surprise the gal who called me back was very nice and explained what the church was all about while inviting me to come for a Sunday service, which I did!

I had the most wonderful and uplifting experience of my life! Everyone welcomed me even though I felt uncomfortable due to the transgendered person I was watching the house for and their constant harsh putdowns of me! After the service was over I was invited to a Pot Luck Dinner, which I luckily got a ride to! I was so thankful for the ride while at the same time I was wishing that I could have driven his/her vehicle that just sat on the street getting dirty and that I was only allowed to move when it was time for the street sweeper to come around!

For about two and a half months I looked forward to and enjoyed going to that branch of Unitarian Universalist Church. Everyone was so friendly and though my beliefs were of the traditional Native Americans before Christianity destroyed it, I was still welcomed, while also being just as welcome as a Gay male. Not one person there was full of hate or negativity, unlike a few select places and people in and near the Antelope Valley!

I made a friend there who took me with him when he’d go to Jackson to see or pickup his son and had a blast! I had no money to offer him for fuel for his car, though he insisted that the trip was on him and I enjoy myself. I miss him and the fun times I had with him, while I also miss the members of the Stockton U.U. Church! Every Sunday was something different and exciting, while there was always singing and moments when each and every person turned, greeted and welcomed as many other folks as they could before the minister continued the service. Then after the services, there was always food of sorts, coffee, tea, and other drinks, which varied according to who would bring what for that Sunday. I think it was my second week that I volunteered to help with the coffee and clean up, and it was fun! Because I had little to no food at home, some members would give me food to take home, while if there was anything left after the service, it would be given to me to enjoy for the next few days, which really helped!

I really didn’t want to leave when the time came, but do hope to return for a visit. Unlike all the hate, discrimination, evil, and more that I experienced at some other places of worship, there at the Stockton branch of the Unitarian Universalist Church, I experienced peace, camaraderie, friendliness, togetherness, brotherhood, generosity, love, kindness, encouragement, and so many other ‘positive’ and ‘good’ things. It was like ‘one big family’! I now attend the Lancaster, California branch, and though it is small, it’s still a nice, friendly, welcoming group with similar qualities as well! My own feeling is that everyone should be at least open minded and fully accepting, while it would be grand if a majority of Americans were Unitarian Universalists while welcoming those of other beliefs like Pagans, Spiritualists, Wiccans, and others without condemning them for their beliefs, yet welcoming them ‘no matter what’!

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Published on December 23, 2009 at 8:29 am  Leave a Comment  

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