Monday, September 15, 2008

Blown Away by my favorite Jack Unitarian Universalist

The FS has, from the age of 18 or so, been very skeptical about Unitarian Universalism. Not because he isn't UU to the core, having been born and raised at Jefferson Unitarian Church in Golden, Colorado, but because he (as are many young adults) is wary of any ideology where people can be hypocritical. Oh, he had lots of complaints about the various ways he saw UUs go wrong, whether it was with useless (he felt) protest vigils or church programs that didn't go anywhere. You get the picture.

When I began to study for the ministry, he was supportive but a little cynical, though as he was no longer living at home it didn't affect his life much. I used to tease him about being a Preacher's Kid but the critical period for PKism is childhood, so it wasn't quite the same.

The FS and his sweetie married a little over a year ago and she brought two beautiful pre-teen children into the marriage. The FS feels very strongly about being a good father-figure for them, as their biological dad lives many states away and they only see him on school vacations. So he and the FDIL have been going to their local UU Fellowship in Reno with the kids.

I knew that he was interested in being a youth advisor and had gotten involved with that activity, but I was truly blown away when he told me last night on the phone that he had been invited to be on the Committee on Ministry and would be serving in that capacity for awhile. They have a new minister in Reno and I had urged him to get to know the new guy, that he could be an ally in working with the youth.

It's hard to believe, that this young man who sometimes calls himself a "Jack Unitarian Universalist" (if you live in Mormon country, you know that a Jack Mormon is someone who is Mormon at heart but doesn't observe Mormon strictures) is so involved in his local congregation. Of course, if you are a UU, you know that both COM and youth advisors tend to be change agents in a congregation, not status-quo keepers. That would suit the FS just fine.

I am really proud of him, for taking such a serious interest in being a good stepdad, for seeing the value in a church community for his family, and for being willing to help out with that community. Though there were times in his younger life when both his dad and I (and other assorted friends and relatives) were ready to tear our hair out, he has grown up to be one of the finest people I know. Much of the credit goes to the Religious Education program at JUC and its director, the Rev. Lark Matis-Ruffner, who saved his bacon time after time as he flailed his way through RE classes and finally grew up in the youth program.

Thank you, FS, thank you, Lark, thank you to the lovely people at JUC.


Kari said...

Oh thanks, I was back in the youth advisor seat last night and started thinking...."why do we do this again?" Now I remember! And hey, good job on that mom gig!

ms. kitty said...

You know, Kari, truthfully, I could not have done it without the help of the RE program and its leaders at JUC. I attribute much of "my" success to their kindness and support. So remember that, too, that you RE folks are essential to our kids' healthy growing up.

Miss Kitty said...

Hooray for the FS! And hooray to you, Ms. K, for having set a good example as his mom...and as the kids' step-grandma. :-) It's so nice knowing the kids will be growing up with UU-ism.

ms. kitty said...

Thanks, Miss K. I appreciate your kind words.

Joel said...

A "Jack Unitarian Universalist" could be acronymized as a "JUU." That could have some interesting possibilities. "So, you're a Unitarian?" "Nope. I'm a JUU." "Hmmm. Are you sure you want to finish that pork chop?"

ms. kitty said...

I think JUU has already been taken by the Jewish UU group. I don't know if they worry much about pork chops!