Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Separation of Church and Men?

In the last three months my life has changed greatly. Our family recently moved, our home sits stagnant waiting to be bought, I've experienced a very cold fall for once, and I finally internalized that being a Christian was not for me.

You see, it is not that I woke up and suddenly the air was dryer or my mind clearer. I have just recognized that after many years of wanting to believe in something (for whatever reason) I allowed myself to follow my instincts and willingly chose to honor my yearning to be free from dogmatic yokes (no pun intended, well maybe a little :-)

I remember as a child reading the Apocalypse and being told that if I wasn't saved I would reek of sulfur and be impaled upon confessing to love Jesus. Fast forward and I became an average Christian with a true yearning to follow the latest pastoral prescription to salvation, living, giving and more importantly thinking. I just could never get the right recipe though, because nothing ever clicked I had many pieces to put together and their edges just did not "fit".

For many years my husband (bless his soul) was a nervous Jimmy at SS, waiting for the moment that I, Yoed Cameron Santos the purveyor of clarity and doubt would attack the most unprepared Sunday school teacher.

Me -"...So whatdaya think about women in ministry?", "what about Christmas. Do you realize that your celebration is nothing but a manipulation of an ancient "pagan" tradition that some Monk used to gain the trust of people who were blissfully happy cutting a Yule log?"

The teacher-" Well in such and such it says that men...." "About Christmas, well it is a tradition that we use to honor our loving father and redeemer..."

Me- "So, what you mean is that you pick and choose and that as long as it is your tradition is OK. What about the traditions of men that the bible instruct us against?"

The teacher (very PO'd might I add). "That is too theologically complicated to resolve in a Sunday school class and is a point of conflict between many theologians"

Me (internally)- Yoed -1- the man -0-

So there it was. I had become a pastor's worst nightmare. I was a "Bible lawyer", the person that does not have a degree in Popcorn Popping yet can have a half-baked argument about theology deep enough to make a church staff break out Barclay's and concordances and become a hot mess. I just couldn't help it. In the military things are or they aren't, if there is a gray area it does not apply at my pay level. With the exception of the Air Force which has Instructions and not regulations (unless they want to stick you with) if you open a book (written in eight-grade level) you will more than likely find an answer to whatever topic your question pertains to (it almost has pauses for breathing).

Fast forward again, had a lively discussion about Christmas and became very interested in the official position of the church and its leaders (I am talking at the Assembly level). I posted, spoke, e-mailed about a myriad of other topics and what I found out was something that left me speechless. All of the people I asked questions to had a different perspective, opinion, and operation point than I had!!

I could not believe it. All these years I, Yoed, sat on a pew and received prescriptions that applied to all souls sitting there for 94 minutes and I believed it. NO, I wanted to believe it because I trusted the judgment of somebody that "had a clue". I thought we were an "army" that we were one. You know; I am the eye you are the....and we are one body!

After growing depressed and frustrated I asked my church's secretary what she thought about two hot button issues. She said "I can't speak for the denomination, I can't speak for the church but I think everybody has the possibility of being right". She continued to say that everybody has the liberty and leaning to choose their path to "God" she just had chosen to be a "Christian" but with her reservations.

-WHAT??- NO! My world just about collapsed. I thought we had an insurgent! That is treason and a reason for a hearing where I worked at!

A month later and after much thinking it hit me. I can choose, I have the privilege. I don't have to push against my grain anymore. I can use all the knowledge I have amassed through the years about different religions and philosophies that I gained knowledge about so I could counter their points (and that by the way made sense) that I dared not acknowledge.

Finally I was free.

Oh, about Church and Men? I'll get to that later. Tomorrow is my first day of civilian work and I got to hit the sack.

Live life Empirically!!

Yours in knowledge and peace,


Welcome to another new blogger

I would like to welcome anohter new Blogger, Yoed Cameron Santos. Here was the information she sent us, and we are happy to have her involved.

My name is Yoed Cameron Santos; I am currently a USCG reservist (though I have 9 years of AD service in the Air Force and Coast Guard). I just PCSd to the Bedford, MA and am attending Follen Community Church and First Parish UU in Lexington, MA. I am new to UUism but am absorbing all that I can like a sponge takes in water! I can’t wait to get active and do what I can to help fellow UUs in the military community.
Live life empirically!
Mrs. Yoed Cameron Santos
Hanscom AFB, MA

Monday, October 30, 2006

Welcome Captain Beall!

I would like to welcome Captain Thomas Beall as our newest Blogger...

Here is the information he sent to us!

Name: Captain Thomas R. Beall, USN
I am a member of Channing Memorial Church in Newport, RI (in fact I am the Congregation President this year). I am currently on the faculty of the U. S. Naval War College in Newport. I have been in the Navy 23 1/2 years, having served at sea in the Pacific and Middle East. I was Captain of USS RENTZ (FFG 46) and most recently the Commander of the Navy Element of Joint Task Force Guantanamo.

We look forward to your sharing with us! This Blog is for us, so post as you see fit.

Yours in Faith,

David Pyle

Sunday, October 29, 2006

First Military President?

Due to the resignation of our President, I have become the Acting President of my congregation. I wonder if there are any other active duty UU board presidents, or if there ever have been before? Is this worthy of attention from other UU's - say an article in the UU World?

Along those lines, Rob Keithan of the UUA Washington Advocacy Office has asked me to write a brief reflection on Veterans' Day for their website. Maybe it will actually be used this time! He might be interested in input from others - give him a shout here.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Survey on UU Attitudes to Military and Police issues

I would like to ask my fellow Military Affiliated UU's to please pass this email along within your UU contacts and congregations. Rev. Presley and I have been in contact over the summer on this, and I have already participated. I would ask you to take some time and do the same. The information collected will not only be helpful to her in her doctoral work, but also could be very valuable to us in understanding our own place in Unitarian Universalism as Military affiliated UU's.

Here is Rev. Presley's email.

Dear Friends,

I am working toward my Doctor of Ministry degree at
Meadville/Lombard Theological School, and I’d like your help. As part of my
final project, I am attempting to understand UU attitudes toward military and
police chaplaincy, as well as toward the military and police in general. Toward
that end, I have created an on-line survey that I would both love you to
complete, and then to forward the link on to others in your congregation(s). I
want to get broad participation, so feel free to forward this email to other UUs
you know. And please, personally answer the survey only once—I want this to be
as accurate as possible.

The link for the survey is: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s.asp?u=709832521237. If you do
not immediately get sent to the survey, you may need to copy the address and
paste it into your Internet browser.

Thanks so much, and please
feel free to contact me if you have any questions.

Doctor of Ministry Candidate
Meadville/Lombard Theological