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Showing posts from April, 2007

"Cat...It's Beltane."

So a sick day--two, actually--is not really a traditional way to celebrate the Pagan holiday of joy, spring, and fertility. But for me, it's not a bad choice, really.

Here's the deal.

Yesterday, I was supposed to "hold" meeting for worship in the morning. "Holding" worship is a Mt. Toby thing--I'm not sure all unprogrammed Quakers think of it the same way. A lot of meetings will have an appointed closer--the one who tracks time, and provided there appear to be no messages rising in the meeting at the time, signals the end of our hour by beginning the handshakes. But "holding" also means arriving a bit early, and settling into worship in order to "hold" the space as people enter it and settle into their own worship. And the one holding worship tries, through being deeply centered him/herself, through an awareness of the meeting as a whole, and through our own worship, to encourage the meeting and those who give vocal ministry esp…

The Sincerest Form of Flattery

Sometimes, the universe throws you coincidences that are too good to go by that name--synchronicity sounds so much nicer, doesn't it?

In any case, just at the time when I was corresponding with a group of Pagan and Heathen bloggers I admire about this wonderful tool that the "Quaker Blogosphere" had for itself in the brainchild of Martin Kelley, QuakerQuaker: A Guide to the Quaker Conversation, Quaker blogger Chris M. was suggesting it was high time for a QuakerQuaker blog carnival.

Pagan readers may have a sense of the importance that QuakerQuaker holds for Quaker bloggers, if I compare Martin Kelley to Fritz Jung or Wren Walker at The Witches' Voice, though the two pages are very, very different. Where Witchvox has become an enormous community forum and news page, with thousands upon thousands of regular visitors, the scope of QuakerQuaker is far smaller--and more focused. QuakerQuaker is not an attempt to bring its readers the whole of the Quaker world... just t…

The Grey Bonnet

Some dreams aren't much of a challenge to interpret...

I dreamed that I was working to make myself a grey coal-scuttle shaped bonnet. In the dream, it was clear to me that this was a Quaker bonnet I was sewing for myself. I was having a couple of problems: there was some kind of metal stay built into it to hold the shape. I kept trying it on and taking it off and making small adjustments to it, because the metal piece squeezed against my temples uncomfortably.

I was interrupted in this work several times by people walking through the space where I was. Each time someone came in the room, I would awkwardly hide the bonnet in my lap... sort of the way I keep turning the title of Lloyd Lee Wilson's book away from people when I have it out in public to read. Essays on the Quaker Vision of Gospel Order is actually a really cool book about Quaker worship and community processes... but, oh, that title is a painful squeeze!

Our Birthday Present, Precious...

I received this beautiful gift in the mail from our good friend, Judy Harrow, HPs of Proteus Coven, and the chair of the Pastoral Counseling Department at Cherry Hill Seminary.

So next All Snakes' Day, both the blog and I will be ready, with some trendy jewelry to balance all those shamrocks.

It has been a while since we've gotten together, but it's nice to know that time and miles don't matter so very much. Thanks for celebrating our anniversary with us, Judy! Blessed Be.

Joy, Ministry, and Embarassment

It doesn't feel entirely like a First Day if I don't feel torn, rushed, and stressed after meeting for worship, by the need to zip home, grade a huge stack of papers, and batten down the hatches for another week of teaching.

That said, I will say I am not complaining.

Ours was a sleepy and somewhat restless meeting today, if I'm any judge. Still, I had a good meeting. Sitting in worship, listening to the sound of sleety rain beating on the roof of the meeting house, I kept hearing the "Ode to Joy" chorus from Beethoven's 9th Symphony going round and round in my head.

It's not a piece I know well enough to quote from memory, so plainly it was for me, not a message for meeting in any way, but I'd like to share those half-remembered lyrics with you here:

"...All creatures drink joy
At the breasts of nature;
All the good, all the evil
Follow her roses' trail.
Kisses gave she us, and wine,
A friend, proven unto death;
Pleasure was to the worm granted,
And …

Waging Peace in All Things

For Quakers, the most topical part of this essay is probably going to be towards the end, where I'm going to try to say at least a little about the current contretemps about the discriminatory FUM personnel policy, and how Quakers, as a community, are dealing with it. For Pagans, the most interesting bits may be some thoughts about creating peace even in the face of injustice. I'll try not to ramble much, guys, but the issues are complex. Anyway, I'll start with a news story that caught my eye and got me writing this morning:

Cruising through the excerpted blogs at QuakerQuaker, I came across this account of a visit of a group of Christian GLBT activists to George Fox University--an evangelical Quaker college with a policy that, alas, discriminates against gays and lesbians. I'm impressed with the "Equality Riders," of course, but that's not what made this post resonate so strongly with me. Instead, it is the actions of the administration, faculty, and…

Lloyd Lee Wilson, Herne, and the Sea of Limitless Light

More than anything, as a writer, I seem to be driven to find words for things for which I have no words. (To "eff" the ineffable, as I sometimes think of it to myself.) And words for the experience of Spirit are the hardest to find of any.

Pagans have a real poverty of writings on the subject of experienced religion, in spite of our immersion in it. Quakers have more, but it is all very hard for me to access, since most of it is couched in Christian terminology, and draws on the Bible to an extent that I find very tough sledding. Still, from time to time a nugget of gold shows up--a few words that convey something of what it is to live a spiritual experience--and that keeps me hungry and seeking both words of my own, and words from others.

It helps to be present when the words are spoken. If I had not been present for the Lloyd Lee Wilson address, "Holy Surrender," I probably would have found the title alone alienating enough that I would not have read further i…