Last Shabbat we heard a wonderful talk by a member on rational spirituality.
The only complaint that I heard was that it was too short! We humanists feel strongly that words should accurately convey what we feel and what we believe, and thus words which are often associated with religiosity are viewed with some wariness.
In 2014, I published a book called ‘The Humanist Prayer Omnibus’. When I spoke about it at one of our communities, my audience raised so many earnest objections to the title of the book, that we hardly had time to discuss the poetry.
I used to view this type of interaction as a missed opportunity, but the passing years have taught me a new perspective and Ernie’s lecture brought it home. While the depth of feeling around words and terminology in our communities can be viewed as bickering over superficiality, this not a charitable understanding of what we do, nor have I found it to be accurate. These arguments are, in effect, a core discourse on who we are as people and the relationship between words and their meaning. It has its own rhythm and cadences, its own aesthetics, its own, dare I say it, poetry, and it forces us to be introspective. I have grown to appreciate it, though I still would like people to read my poems!