When I first joined, I was really excited. I'd thought I'd found a spiritually-mindful haven from the usual Eugene Neo-Pagan scene. During the honeymoon phase it seemed like the UU's were interested in Neo-Paganism. I connected with Rev. Caroline Colbert, who had a Yoda-esque Berkeley Grandma Vibe and who could turn a political rally into a religious gathering in less than five seconds. But then she left, and I realized that people's interest was at a "spiritual tourist" level.
UUCE wasn't so bad, really; it's just that the rational folks I'd be interested in covenanting with are the ones who don't speak about [insert deity name here] in public and the the ones who are interested in Neo-Paganism are either superstitious anti-intellectuals or else they're Really Into The Goddess (No Men Allowed). And then there's the Protestant "Sermon-Sandwich."
Mark would chime in, "You're the common factor in all your failed relationships." So maybe I was off-putting in some way that turned folks away from ritual events. People here like pot-lucks a lot and I think I'd rather visit a dentist than be forced to attend one (do you know how many times I've accidentally eaten a Deadly Red Pepper at one of these pot-lucks?). And I'd be the first to admit that I had the unrealistic expectation that UUCE would provide rabbinical opportunities to discuss Neo-Pagan theology with Margot Adler clones -- so maybe that got transmitted somehow as impatience or exasperation.
What this has taught me is that
- The dominant spiritual vibe of a city cannot be escaped by changing churches.
- I must have a idiosyncratic take on Neo-Paganism that makes participating in group ritual difficult.
- Bitchiness can be a useful tool to codify one's theology, but it makes for dreary reading. And...
- I value time spent with my family or writing than I do time spent with most Neo-Pagans (or UUs).
Actually, I will go back to being a solitary Neo-Pagan practitioner, which is what I'd been prior to 2006 (and have been, really, for the last year).