That old Carole King song resonates with me this week as I spend time hosting my dear friend Sue from Portland. Coincidentally, at Sunday's "House Church" experience when we were rained out of our open air service and sought shelter in a nearby congregant's home, the topic for the dyad conversation was "who in your life do you feel completely yourself with? nothing to hide, nothing to pretend about, able to accept and give feedback without pain?"
The person who came to my mind was Sue. She is somewhat older than I; she was my mentor when I first achieved Preliminary Fellowship and needed to jump through the Ministerial Fellowship Committee's hoops to reach Final Fellowship. She has been my supporter, adviser, mentor and, eventually, friend. She hauled me to doctor's appointments when I was getting ready for my heart surgery several years ago, she was a reference when I was in search, she has been openhearted and openhanded in her friendship with me. And she appreciates everything I do for her, in return.
When we spend time together, we are happy, whether we are just sitting and reading books or having a meal or talking. We are often roommates at professional functions and our district meetings; I help her with stuff and she helps me. Her mobility is compromised, so I lift or tug or pick up stuff for her. Together we sort through professional issues, swap stories about people we know in common (kindly, not meanly), and discuss the meaty conversational topics of our lives.
Yesterday the UU World came, with its article by Doug Muder about classism. We had only skimmed the article but we began a conversation about his points and the difficult matter of identifying our own classism. Believe me, I know I have difficulties there, having come from a family that was blue-collar educated but white-collar aspiring. (My dad had only high school and two years of Bible College for his ministerial education; my mom taught on a provisional certificate for years before she got a BA. All of us kids went to college; my sister has a PhD, I have two Masters, and my brother has a BS.) Yet I fall into the highly educated worldview camp and tend to associate primarily with folks who are similar to me.
Interestingly, my PhD sister is not comfortable in my UU church, though she is unfailingly courteous and non-argumentative. Her personal beliefs diverge significantly from mine, and it is not a matter of education. I speculate a lot about this, but I am not worried about it. I believe that different faiths attract different people. I also believe that most of us have few friends who are working-class/blue-collar folks; we mostly know "those people" because they act in a service capacity with us.
And when Doug asks if we are stating our beliefs in language that resonates with all people, not just academically educated people, I have to ask myself about my own language usage and preferences. Hard questions, Doug, hard questions. Thanks for asking. But I don't have any answers just yet.