Are You a Freedom Fighter?
I went to church last Sunday. I don’t attend church all the time but every so often I find it fills my emotional, spiritual and social needs and so I go. I’m not interested in theological doctrine and I don’t need some outside source to help me find my moral compass. But I do enjoy connection, prayer, song and some rituals. I tend to go whenever and wherever my heart leads me so sometimes I attend Unitarian Universalist Church in Grass Valley, CA – other times I might go to church with a family member in another state and with a congregation I have little in common with. Last Sunday I attended services at a church celebrated for its political activism and public outreach: Glide Memorial in San Francisco.
This was my first time attending Glide and fortunately the founder, Cecil Williams, paid a rare visit and gave a rousing sermon. Of course many preachers have a gift for stirring up their congregation with platitudes and promises but Cecil Williams really has made a huge positive difference in his community so when he speaks of making the world a better place to live you can’t help but pay attention. He spoke about being a Freedom Fighter and embracing people of all races, genders and sexual orientations. The words Bisexual, Gay, Lesbian, and Transgender scrolled across the back wall in a continuously playing slide show as he spoke.
But most impressive to me was the congregation and the choir, both of which beamed with an amazing level of joy, acceptance and that rarest of gems, SELF-acceptance. I can honestly say I have never before been in a room so full of love. Certainly many if not most gatherings of like minded individuals will shake hands, express sentiments of welcome and even offer hugs (12 step groups especially!) but too many times these demonstrations of acceptance fall a little flat as each person strives to hide some aspect of themsevles which they fear may be judged or rejected. What astounded me was the depth of sincerity at Glide.
When Cecil proclaimed his love for everyone in the room, instead of it souding like a corny attempt to bring attention to himself, I got a lump in my throat. It isn’t the words we utter as much as the energy those words carry which can hurt or heal. And one of the first freedoms we must fight for is the freedom to be true to ourselves and our unique expression as an individual. Regardless of why and where we gather to share our passions, purposes or problems I think we can all strive to bring more action to our love and more acceptance to our groups. The fruits of true love and acceptance are just too powerful to miss. When each of us feels accepted as we are and where we are, that love propells us to dream bigger dreams and achieve bigger goals. When we are loved by others, it is easier for us to love ourselves and when we live from a place of self-love and self-acceptance, we are also able to give more love to others.
It is incredibly inspiring to witness and participate in that action oriented practice of love so if you get the chance be sure to check out a Sunday service at Glide Memorial. I am not a Christian and it just didn’t matter to me or anyone else there. Even if church isn’t your thing, you might walk away with inspiration you can carry into your own efforts to fight for freedom whether in a group, family, workplace or through activism.
My good friend and mentor Cosi Fabian (pictured below) is someone I consider a freedom fighter and she was recently interviewed on the topic of Sacred Prostitution. You may not be aware that Cosi Fabian was the first to go public with the concept of revitalizing the ancient traditions of sacred prostitution. Her voice is intelligent and takes on mythic proportions due in large part to the fact that she is a skilled story-teller. I know you will enjoy her presentation on this important and intriguing topic. Listen to Cosi Fabian here! – Veronica Monet
cross-posted with the The Wealthy Woodpecker February 2010 Newsletter
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Image: Cosi Fabian, Sacred Prostitution