Monday, August 28, 2017

Angry All the Time

Angry All the Time

No, I am not, but I feel I could be.

14 years ago I started Unitarian Universalist seminary. I thought I knew what I was getting myself into. I was a lifelong Unitarian and already had one career behind me.

This rant was interrupted by getting coffee, feeding the cat, and feeding one of the squirrels. The squirrel, whom I call my brave boy, put a smile on my face. Though he was the first I tamed, I hadn't seen him for a while.

I also have a brave girl. She has a notch in her right ear which makes her readily identifiable. The boy also has a conspicuous protuberance.

Back to seminary. What I found in seminary was a battleground worse than I had ever experienced at work, even worse than high school. There were just a few seminarians who were painfully obnoxious, but there was no adult supervision. Professors who did try to enforce some basic ethics were fired.

After I graduated from the seminary, the seminary president announced her retirement. The underhanded, unethical tactics she used to place her favorite candidate on the throne would have made Machiavelli blush.

I did an internship and a residency as a chaplain, specializing in psychiatric chaplaincy. I'd always been interested in both psychology and philosophy, having majored in the former and minored in the latter as an undergraduate, and this brought in both. Psychiatric patients are often questioning reality. How Socratic.

After residency, I decided to review the examining process for Unitarian Universalist ministers. I had developed expertise in examining during my first career and was appalled by what I learned of the UU process. An association that prides itself on its antiracism work was doing little to assure that its examining procedures would protect against systemic, often unconscious, racism and other forms of discrimination.

Recently the president, the COO, and the chief of operations of the UU Association resigned in disgrace because a selection process revealed the shortcomings that they had been warned about for over a decade. The joy of schadenfreude did not match the anger and disgust I felt.

Growing up half Jewish and half Christian, yet really neither as a Unitarian, was both a gift and a curse. It was a curse because I always felt like an outsider, often an invisible one because neither my name nor my appearance kept me from passing when I wanted to. It was a gift in giving me an unusual viewpoint.

(This blog post will be continued in the one below called "Home.")

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