CEDAR LANE VOICES ON MULTICULTURAL, PLURALISTIC SPIRITUALITY
Both of my parents felt that my brother and I needed to grow up in some type of organized religion. Even though my parents were lapsed Catholics, when my brother and I were born, we were each Baptized in the Catholic tradition. Sometimes I wonder if this push for “organized” religion was another way that my family was desperately trying to blend in and be more “American.” My mother was particularly active in church and even taught religious education for a while.
We had the same priest for several years, he was pretty open and accepting but when he was transferred out, my mother moved us across the street to the Episcopal Church stating that the new priest was too, “fire and brimstone” and “Temple was next” if the Episcopal church didn’t meet our needs. We were all very active in our new church, which was pretty liberal. I was one of the first female alter attendants and believe that the seeds of my Call to ministry began during this time. I loved worship and felt a deep connection to something larger, but I struggled with some of the language and biblical stories.
I also found myself wrestling with how we practiced religion at church and how religion was practiced at home. Instead of praying to God to heal my grandfather when he had resurgence of cancer, my family and I gathered underneath a lunar eclipse and did a ritual for his healing. My grandfather went into a remission period that lasted years after that night and this particular ritual has stayed with me as it was far more pagan than anything one might expect from people who claimed to be Christian.
Hoping to resolve this dissonance, I began to delve into world religions and became particularly interested in Earth-Based Spirituality, which I practiced for many decades. Ultimately, it was a CUUPS (Covenant of Unitarian Universalist Pagan) chapter at a congregation in Fredericksburg, VA, that convinced me to check out the UU church. I walked through the doors on that first Sunday, and knew I was home. I loved that I could honor all religions, while nurturing and exploring my own faith development in a questioning, caring space. I loved the focus on social justice as an act of faith and “the rest,” as they say, “is history” (and likely to appear in a sermon!).