Red, Blue, and Purple
I recently moved from one of the reddest states, Utah, to one of the bluest, California. One of the reasons I moved was so I could live in a state where my marriage would be recognized. After almost 40 years together, it seemed like time. Two of our three adult children also live here, and it makes my heart glad to be near them again. There was also loss involved with the move. Hardest of all was to leave a ministry and a congregation full of people that I loved.
So what does it feel like to have made this change?
On the GLBT issue it feels totally great. I have noticed that while I still pay attention to the court cases on marriage equality, it is with much less emotion. They aren’t impacting me personally anymore. Utah’s Governor Herbert and Attorney General Sean Reyes can say all the hateful and bigoted things about GLBT people they want, but MY governor and attorney general are nothing but supportive. So are my neighbors and random people I meet in the street and the supermarket. Life is pretty good for GLBT people when the state is a blue one. The weather here in California is also delightful.
I also think the move is going to be good for me as a minister. I was beginning to feel very frustrated and almost bitter about Utah’s red state politics. It wasn’t just marriage equality, it was also their failure to expand medicaid, their love affair with guns, and their total disregard for the environment. I won’t even go into the corruption. Their last two Attorney Generals are being indicted for selling their influence to the highest bidder.
It does not serve a minister well to wear frustration and bitterness underneath a robe and stole. As a minister, I believe I must always serve something much greater than myself. I must always hold up hope for the people and the community I serve. I must help create a clarity of vision that is untarnished by any of my own personal angst. That was becoming less possible for me in Utah. I had done it for seven years; I just couldn’t do it anymore.
Since June 30, I have not been serving a congregation. How different that has felt. Even when I was on sabbatical, my heart and spirit were still entwined with all that was going on with the church that I would continue to serve. I was still their minister. This break has been different. I haven’t been anyone’s minister for almost two months.
That is about to change. I will begin with a new congregation in less than a week. It is in Berkeley CA, no less, one of the most liberal communities in this very blue state. I am extremely excited. I haven’t met any of them in person yet, just a video interview and a few emails, but they need a minister and I believe that I can serve them well. I am ready to love them and lead them as best as I am able. In a red state or a blue state, people need community, they need comfort when they are hurting, they need meaning in their lives, they need laughter and music, and a way to connect to what is holy in life. Life itself is sacred, but we need help sometimes to learn to live that way. Our liberal religion of Unitarian Universalism offers all of this.
Red and blue when mixed together make the color purple. Purple is a color that is associated with religion. Lighten it up just a bit and you have lavender. It is not a menace but a dream. Amen to dreams.