Thursday, December 17, 2009

Mr. Keillor and Silent Night

Oh, I am swearing off Peter Bowden's "UU Growth Blog" until after Christmas. It keeps sending me on these long tangents of excellent and thought provoking information. But come on! I've got a LREDA board conference call today! And a soup lunch at school! Not to mention a ton of presents to wrap and a trip to the post office to make and the little dog needs to be walked and I need to finish writing a piece of the pledge drive kick off!

Too much time!

Today he calls on Unitarian Universalists with formal credentials (he says ministers, but I'm sure he meant to say credentialed religious educators and credentialed music leaders, too) to comment on an article in Salon written by Garrison Keillor.

Yes, Mr. Keillor is again slamming Unitarians. I wonder if he's remembering Unitarians from his childhood 60 years ago back before the consolidation of Unitarian and Universalists? I don't think there's a congregation in Anoka, MN where he grew up, but who knows? I wish he'd at least do enough research to call us by our real name when he rants against us.

He writes "It's a Christian holiday, dammit, and it's plain wrong to rewrite "Silent Night." Unitarians, I'm talking to you!..... If you don't believe Jesus was God, OK, go write your own damn "Silent Night" and leave ours alone."

That's a very Christian sentiment. I can totally imagine Jesus saying that.

Or not.

I think what Mr. Keillor is feeling is that the way things were when HE grew up is the way things have always been and the way that they should stay and no changes should ever be made. But it's just not how Christmas works.

Whether you believe that Jesus is the savior and the true son of God, or you call Jesus the great teacher and try your very, very best every single day to live his teachings, or you think that when Jesus taught that he was the son of God what he was saying was that we are all children of God and we're all holy--whatever, you cannot deny that Christmas has evolved over the past 2,000 years.

If we Unitarian Universalists wish to celebrate the birth of a man some of us believe to be the son of God, some of us believe to be the great teacher and some of us are still not sure about, who's business is it? Why does the wording of a hymn in Singing the Living Tradition matter to him?

I have always loved "A Prairie Home Companion". I went to a live show for the first time when I was 16. I count my Saturday afternoons by the opening lines...."hear that old piano, from down the avenue..." but I'm done. He can have his pompous attitude and go find himself some snobbish Jesus who cares about the words in a hymn. I think if Jesus were here on earth today he would be way too busy working with homeless teens and teaching children about hope and love to be bothered. A lowercase "c" christian--the religion of Jesus, not about Jesus.

OK, no more UU Growth Blog, I'm sticking with the lovely and inspirational writings of Boston Unitarian and B.U's new blog A Wonderful Epoch until AFTER Christmas. And right this minute I'm going to go sing "Silent Night" and make up all new words. Ha.


ms. kitty said...

You said it right, Kari!

Peter Bowden said...

Yes! I was thinking inclusively. I find it quite a burden that we have not evolved to the point where the terms ministry and ministers are inclusive. Religious Educators, Music Leaders, many many of our Lay Leaders - they are all ministers in my book. I've updated the post to be more explicitly inclusive. That done, you may be dismissed from the UU Growth blog discussion until 2010. ;-)

Kari said...

Awwww, Peter! Thanks for amending your post. You rock!

Cynthia Landrum said...

I agree with you. I've posted over at I'm swearing off Prairie Home Companion, and I love your idea of going and writing all new words to "Silent Night!" I may work on that today!

boston unitarian said...

Hi Kari,
I too used to be a regular "Companion" listener but it seems as the years go on his humor gets a little cheaper and a little "easier." Besides the blatant inaccuracies in this recent effort, is a meanness that is disappointing.
Thanks for the post (and for the nice words about BU and WE)
Blessings, BU