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Showing posts from January, 2009

What Happens in a Quaker Meeting? Part 2: Ministry

Continued from Part 1: Worship

As I wait in the Light, sometimes images rise. Perhaps it is because of the years I spent doing Pagan trance journey--or perhaps it is because of some quirk of my mind, or something inherent in Spirit itself, for after all, most spiritual writings are rich with imagery, but when I am deep in worship, pictures form in my inner eye more reliably than words.

Some images repeat themselves. I often find myself filled with the memory of the sea of Light from C.S. Lewis' The Voyage of the Dawn Treader:
And one by one everybody on board drank. And for a long time they were all silent. They felt almost too well and strong to bear it; and presently they began to notice another result... [T]he light grew no less-if anything, it increased--but they could bear it. They could look straight up at the sun without blinking. They could see more light than they had ever seen before. Light and water, of course, both have strong spiritual connotations within Christ…

What Happens in a Quaker Meeting? Part 1: Worship

Continued in Part 2: Ministry

"What happens in a Quaker meeting?"
I was at a party a few weeks back, with most of my closest friends in the world. In the middle of the laughter and bad puns and off-key theme songs from 70's TV shows, Jonathan asked me that question.
"Nothing!" broke in my friend Laura, grinning at us across the room. And there was a wave of friendly laughter.

"Not nothing!" I countered. "Definitely not nothing." And I paused to collect myself, and then launched myself into an answer that was more serious than the setting really allowed, but less thorough than the question really demands.

So, for Jonathan and for the world, here's my real answer. This is not what I said amid the popcorn and the porter; it is what I would have said if we had all the time in the world, to anyone who really, really, wanted to know.

When I arrive at the meeting house, I stamp the snow off my feet, hang up my coat, and fetch my name tag from the r…

The Trouble With the Inauguration

The trouble with the inauguration is that I'm going to be watching it.

In my high school. With my students.

And I'm really afraid I'm going to cry.

There's an unspoken law about successful teaching--never cry in front of a teenager. Younger kids sometimes find it appealing when middle-aged people get teary... I remember, when the kids in my sixth grade class threw me a surprise party at the end of my student teaching there, how happy they were at a visible sign that They'd Done Good. ("Those are happy tears, right Ms. Bishop?" one student chirped.)

But teenagers are not like that. They are emotion-phobic, despite their personal penchant for drama (or because of it) and it's not a good idea to be seen as too "emo"--at least, not if you're, like, their parents' age, you know?

Which may be too bad; I may not be able to refrain from getting verklempt while I watch Mr. Obama become the next president of the United States. And, though I di…

A Taste of the Green Egg Omlette: A Review

Green Egg Omelette. Oberon Zell-Ravenheart (ed.) 2009. 286 p. New Page Books, softcover, $15.99. (978-1-60163-04609).

Once upon a time, you could tell what "generation" a Pagan was by their first encounter with the Pagan magazine Green Egg. (I'm from the early Darling years, myself, though my teachers shared with me stacks of their original, mimeographed and hand-stapled Zell years, along with stories of legendary feuds in the Forum--the letter column of the zine--and of rivalries lost and found between one tradition and another.)

Green Egg held an importance to the forming Pagan community that nothing in recent years, with the possible exception of The Witches' Voice website, could hope to rival. We found ourselves and came to understand ourselves through the community we found in those pages.

Oh, there were exceptions. Some of us encountered Circle Network News first, or The Crone Papers, or Harvest. But, before the tidal wave that is the Internet swept most of the…

Peter on Reading Exodus

Part I: A Very Differen Book From Genesis
Part II: God Becoming God
Part III: Thou Shalt Not Suffer A Witch To Live
Part IV: A Graven Image Is Worth A Thousand Words
Reading through the Hebrew scriptures is a project that might well take me the rest of my life. Almost a year after starting, I'm now only about fifteen chapters into Exodus. I'm reading simultaneously the Anchor Bible and the JPS edition of the Tanakh. It's a personal quirk of mine that I find I prefer starting with a very technical translation and then later moving to one that's more fluid and readable. When the Anchor Bible comes to a word where the meaning of the Hebrew is unclear, it stops and tells you so, and gives you a dozen pages of notes explaining all the possible meanings along with the specific context clues or instances of the word in other texts. I just love that stuff. The JPS on the other hand, like most translations that are designed for the general reader, will simply chose the li…