Affirmation-Rev. Thomas Perchlik
In my last column I made jokes about PNW winter, and then
we got mid-west style ice, snow and cold. As Heraclitus said,
“change is the only constant.” On March 22 the sun will be at
the equinox, the light and dark of our daily round balanced. It is the
iconic center point of a season of change.
Speaking of change, for years we have lit our chalice with
these words: “As we come together to worship, we remind ourselves to
treat all people kindly because they are our brothers and
sisters…” Now, because we do want to treat all people kindly, we
need to adjust this language.
First of all, not everyone fits into the binary of gender,
male/female, boys/girls, brothers/sisters. Today, the majority of UU
people who call themselves trans are not transitioning but instead are
non-binary; not one or the other, or both-and. Any individual who comes
into a UU congregation and hears ritual language that excludes them will
likely not be inspired to join that congregation. Depending on their
expectations of us, they may even feel harmed. We want to include and
honor the experience of trans people; we want to include everyone
equally, beginning with each person as they are.
Beyond that, we should also be aware that very few people
fit easily or simply into the given gender categories. We want to admit
that these “two” things are overlapping categories that make up
a whole. Finally, the simple gender binary of male/female has been used
to marginalize or oppress women and restrict men for centuries.
The Worship Associates, with encouragement from the Board,
have proposed that we change the line to read “because they are part
of our human family.” Other options are possible. The
plan is for us to hold some conversations on the suggested change. The board
and Associates will then submit a final proposal to be voted on for
approval at our Congregational Meeting in May or in June.
Peace Be Yours,