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Showing posts from July, 2009

Standing on Holy Ground

I dreamed a few nights back that I was in a hurry.

I was rushing along through cleared fields and woods roads, up and down hills like the ones I remember from the town where I grew up. Though it looked nothing like the specific landscape behind the house that Peter and I are moving to this month, in the dream it was part of that landscape.

I was in a hurry because it was almost dark. There was a sense of urgency, but no panic--just a need to cover a lot of ground efficiently.

As I came up over a rise, along a power line I was following, I saw silhouetted against the brow of the hill a remarkable sight: a circle of standing stones, very stereotypically Stonehenge-ish, tucked under the wing of the soaring high-tension power lines. The sunset flared out behind the pairing in a breathtaking way, and I mourned that I did not have a camera with me.

I resolved to return with one for another sunset, yet wondered if it would ever be possible to capture the image again in quite the same way. I …

Peter on When Words Fail Us

I have been really struggling with how to respond to the controversy that keeps rearing its head (most recently at Quaker Quaker) about Liberal Quakers’ supposed “hostility towards Christianity.” I’ve been disappointed in and saddened by some of the Quaker bloggers whom I have respected as intelligent and thoughtful Friends with integrity but who are just NOT LISTENING to anyone who might, for instance, be hurt by the Pope’s encyclical against the Neopagans.
I was ruminating on various ways to respond—angry tirades, insightful analyses, heartfelt pleas for understanding and tolerance…none of which would have amounted to more than spitting into the wind—when I came across a quote from Wendell Berry’s essay, “Christianity and the Survival of Creation.” He said it all much better than I ever could. And Cat, in her comments over at Quaker Quaker, has been doing a good job of making the point that not all non-Christians are wounded refugees from Christianity; some of us just happened to gr…

Thought for the Day: Save What You Can

Pagans and Quakers spend a fair amount of time thinking about what is going wrong: wars, global warming, species extinction.

And if we're not careful, we can get caught up in feelings of helplessness, cynicism, or despair.

Today, reading about another effort to save yet another endangered species, I found my heart aching with something, something like this:

It doesn't matter if we're going to succeed or not. Not to you and me, and not to what we have to do. Yes, I am hopeful; but really, hope or despair is not my job. My job is to do what I can, small or large. Your job is the same.

Save what you can. Whether or not we're all headed for destruction is beside the point.

Save what you can. No pausing for cynicism or despair. No excuses. Get it done.

A Walk in the Woods

I went for a walk in the woods yesterday.

Though it's not the regular occurrence in my life I wish it was, it wasn't just the fact of being in the woods that made the walk important to me. It was the fact that, after thirty years as an orphan from the woods of my childhood, I was once again walking in woods of my own. Peter and I are buying a house, and the house has woods behind it.

The woods will not literally belong to us, but to a non-profit located next door. That's all right. The woods I walked in nearly every day of my girlhood were not my own, either, beyond the two acres my family held the title to.

I couldn't even guess how many acres I rambled over as a child. From my backyard to the two oaks; from the path across the street to the ledges and the maple grove; from the end of the street to the Peak and the oak scrub and trails beyond it. I hiked over streams, across farms and orchards, in snowstorms, fog, blazing sun and, on at least one memorable occasi…

Quaker Pagan Reflections Featured in Writing Cheerfully on the Web

Writing Cheerfully on the Web, an anthology of Quaker writing, is now available for order.

And Quaker Pagan Reflections is in it!

Edited by one of my favorite Quaker bloggers of all time, Liz Oppenheimer, it also features the work of many of my other favorite Quaker bloggers, including Chris Mohr, Robin Mohr, C. Wess Daniels, Aj Schwanz, Peggy Senger Parsons, Micah Bales, Will Taber, and Peterson Toscano. Sections include Ministry & Worship, That Of God, Convergent Friends, and Love As A Testimony.

Why should you buy a copy of this book? Well, besides the fact that I'm in it (and, did I mention, I am in it?) there's the fact that all of the featured writers do a terrific job at voicing some part of the complicated choir of the modern Religious Society of Friends. Absolutely there will be points of view that will surprise you, maybe even provoke you a bit. But, if you are interested in Quakers, the book will offer a juicy, quirky, lively, and sometimes even wise and insig…

Touching the Spirit

Ask me where I feel Pagan, and I will hold out my hands. Ask me where I feel Quaker, and I will touch my heart.

The other day, at my Quaker meeting, I had just come in the door before meeting for worship and was quietly greeting friends. I was, however, inwardly, already making the transition to worship in my mind, and as I was happily smiling at a friend who had just walked into the room, my hand found its way over my heart.

My friend, thinking I was giving him a kind of New Age salute, returned the gesture. My hand dropped a moment, sheepishly; I am far more New Englander than New Ager, and hate like anything to seem grandiose or self-dramatizing. The gesture, as a gesture, seems terribly precious to me.

Nonetheless, a moment later, I noticed my hand had returned to its position over my heart.

See, there's this thing about my hands. There's this thing about my heart. There's this thing about the sensuality of Spirit, and the physicality of prayer.

The thing about my han…