Friday, August 24, 2007
a Unitarian church stands across the street from us. its bell tolls hourly, but I've already come to hardly notice. altho today, starting around 5pm, it kept ringing for maybe 30 minutes. it may be a war protest, best guess, tho no one was outside on the green to make the point. the church now sports a banner on the side proclaiming the virtues of diversity. which is white middle class suburban talkspeak for what, exactly? I grew up in the Unitarian church, so I claim the right to throw stones. when Beth and I 1st married, we thunk as how the church would be a good thing for Erin, as a social vector, if nothing else. my father, at the time, was still attending church, as he did responsibly for some 50 years. I had long since lost any interest in the church beyond the physical structure itself, a neat airy contemplative space, but a place where Erin could meet kids was an important consideration. the minister, who married us, told Beth that the church's youth group wasn't what you might call receptive to, well, anyone. that this new kid, Erin, might not be welcomed for reasons of his being, well, the new kid. or shit like that. at the time the church seethed with a brouhaha concerning whether or not to have a sign welcoming gays. the result of the battle was a temporary invitation to any stray gays who needed an insincere home where they could be welcomed for who they are, for a while. honest, it played just like that. the Unitarians might scare up some anti-war sentiment but the diversity thing is just a sham. it is words as defensive maneuver. as I said, my father was a long time member of the church. the church did little when he could no longer manage attending church. periodically a couple of church members would officially count coup on him, you know, tag the old guy, reap Unitarian karma points. I hated it. especially when, overwhelmed, I called to see if the church could provide any relief for a caregiver of one of their members (negatory on that one, good buddy). so that banner across the street, with the central casting unit of shiny diversity smiling at all, brings an anger to me. there was never a moral structure involved in the church that I knew. words glazed motive. talk is cheap. Walt Whitman is almost a Unitarian minister, except for an essential sincerity that trumps his showboat nature. I mean, when he invokes a picture of him give succour to a runaway slave, he manages to keep the political moment true. yes, I realize he maintains a hovering erotic element, natheless there's something gosh darn true in the exploit of his words. for all his bluster, he's on to something. as poet, there is pathfinding to do. always. the Unitarian syndrome is only for followers. the ecstatic intent of a singular path provides a grace of reflection that a Unitarian blowhard doesn't bother with. I guess I got my dukes up. that sanitary banner, and the flags of diversity adorning the nifty little church garden, just don't get the work done.