A popular culture UU??
I struggle with this myself. I go between being proud of the intellectual achievements of UU's (over 98% of our church has at least a bachelor's degree) and being revolted at the isolation caused by being brainiacs. I relate more to people who have a modicum of education and awareness of the world at large. But at the same time I am revolted (almost physically) at that very thing. How dare I place value on something so trivial. Yuck!
I think this particular issue resonates with my own issues of belonging in my spiritual (UU) community and in my residential (rural America) community. The thing that comes first to mind is popular culture. With UU's (primarily my own church and secondarily the online UU world) popular culture is taboo. Here are some specific examples of my feeling marginalized because of my interest in popular culture: at a UU book discussion (don't remember the book we were talking about) several comments were made about the low level standards of people who watch such "banal" TV as Survivor (lots of eye rolls) as if this is beneath them. Note: I am a huge Survivor fan and my family and I watch every new season with loyal attention. I felt marginalized. Another instance: I went to a youth group parent "meeting" where the topic of discussion was youth and media. Again, people who watch TV were characterized (in my opinion, at least) as inferior. The UU's at this gathering bragged that they only own one TV per household and it is permanenty fixed to PBS. Again, being someone who (gasp) keeps up with popular culture, I felt marginalized. Why does my enjoyment of watching these (albeit trashy) TV shows make me somehow less?
I admit it. I watch TV. I listen to radio. I keep up with popular culture. We watch the local sports teams and cheer them on. We watch Survivor and American Idol. We watch the Office and My Name is Earl. One of my favorite shows is Seinfeld. I wear blue on "Blue Fridays" to support my Colts football team. This feels so anti-UU. Sigh.
It also happens on the blog world. I am a new blogger and I feel like a kid hanging out with the grown ups. We have all these seminarians and ministers posting these "Deep Thoughts" and I feel, frankly, silly. My blog will never be on the nominations list for the UU Blog awards. I'm just not up to snuff. I read some mainstream novels and watch TV and listen to regular radio music. Does that mean I have to revoke my UU membership? I don't know. God still speaks to me to love my fellow humans, whomever they may be.
You know, I feel stuck between a rock and a hard place. In my real world existence as a mom and substitute elementary teacher, I feel much more educated than most and very worldly in comparison. (My son, a freshman in high school, was the ONLY kid in class who was able to successfully say who Nancy Pelosi is and how she is noteworthy...most kids have no idea). But in the UU world I feel like a fraud.
I think the nominations for the annual UU Blog awards has caused me to really think about who I am as a blogger (among other things). I will never be a theologian or someone with "deep thoughts". But I am a real American mom with three boys, a husband, a house, a dog, too many bills and not enough money, a job I love but pays squat, a love for TV, books, and music, and for God and its presence in my life. I won't post high-falutin' theses on religious concepts. That isn't me. But I can post about how God is moving in my life, how UUism speaks to me, how I love my kids and Seinfeld at the same time and have something to offer the world.
I have a feeling I'll have more to say on this issue in future posts. Stay with me and see what happens.