To my great pleasure, my blog entry '"Christian" Communities of Hate,' really resonated with folks at my UU church. Several members began to reflect on their painful experiences in their former religious communities, and this outpouring has helped inspire a renewed thankfulness for the oasis of our local church.
I was thinking about what to focus my second "melancholy monday," post on when I received another touching reflection on the importance of accepting communities from Nathan's partner, Sam:
I wanted to share this amazing letter today because it convinces me of the importance of accepting and nurturing communities, the importance of fellowship. For those who do not feel excluded from the religious communities that bash gays and lesbians, I imagine they would defend their church principally because it provides them with the fellowship that many of us search for.
If you are cast out of these sources of nourishment, you are liable to face the "black dog," the Celtic symbol for the messenger of depression (which Winston Churchill made popular). Experiencing isolation, rejection, bigotry, especially from the very communities from which we should draw spiritual strength, is bound to make us vulnerable to depression.
I am always skeptical of ethicists or, more likely, "pop" psychologists who warn us away from antidepressants or therapy, and encourage us toward religion. Generally what they mean by religion is some brand of evangelicalism, which is supposed to be the healing balm of lost souls. And yet, isn't the cure worse than the disease for Nathan and Sam?
Rather than end this post on a melancholy note, I will end it with hope. For those of us who have been wounded enough by religious communities that devalue women, reject or try to convert gays and lesbians, or promote racism, there are still religious communities that will take us in.