A Friend After 50 Years

A record of one journey into a peculiar type of Quaker Christianity, and a bit of silliness to boot.

Location: Arkansas

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Membership Update

Had my clearness committee last Wed. It was more and less than I expected. I felt that I spent a lot of time blurting out longwinded answers to questions -- but then, how often do I get to talk about this stuff (other than on the web!) I'm a little hesitant to try to "evaluate" it-- isn't that sacreligious or something? I think there was a tenderness about it which is what I carry now, and a willingness to even forgive myself for being such a blowhard (I'm a lawyer after all....). I guess I was somewhat nervous -- there was a bit of feeling exposed, on the hot seat, having to defend the "thesis" that I'm worthy of membership! (The movie "Defending Your Life" comes to mind: imagine Albert Brooks trying to get into heaven). But somehow for all that, the Spirit managed to be there -- or rather, I managed to feel its presence. The committee asked some probing and interesting questions, but nothing to really justify or exacerbate the foregoing trepidations.

They asked about the spiritual journey that brought me to Friends (short answer: I married into it!), which testimony I most related to (answer: community), why I wanted to join (feel like I'm already a member so....) , how I thought the meeting might improve (more corporate discernment of individual leadings --myself particularly included--, outreach, and thinking about how we engage with younger members in our predominately graying meeting) and did I consider myself a Christian (I'm exploring Quaker Christianity -- and perhaps experiencing it! -- but not ready to so self-identify at this point). I had the opportunity to ask a question, which was how they felt about membership in the RSOF (I related some of my hesitations as described in the previous post), which was a nice way to get to know a little bit more about them. (The answers to the "improvement" question were highly influenced by my Quaker blog reading, BTW!).

I learned the next day that the committee recommends membership, which will be brought to business meeting Nov. 5. I am blessed.


Blogger Martin Kelley said...

Hi Dave Carl,
Congratulations on being recommended (I had a feeling you should be, smile!).
Your Friend,

10:22 PM  
Blogger Dave Carl said...

Thanks Martin, it really is a good feeling, more than I anticipated.

9:42 AM  
Blogger Claire said...

A wonderful thing about becoming a member of a meeting is that you don't have to already know all of the answers to have "clearness".

(I was just poking around your blog - perhaps I'll return!)

Love and Light,

6:12 PM  
Blogger Dave Carl said...

And a good thing, too!

Hope you'll poke back in Claire -- the door is always open!

12:13 PM  
Blogger Liz Opp said...

I seem to have missed a lot of good news and good posts while I was away recently. ...Glad to be catching up and to come across this update on your application for membership.

I'm glad you thought to ask the committee a question of your own--for me, that helps with the sense of reciprocity and mutual care for one another.

And welcome to a new part of your Quaker journey. Perhaps life will go on as if nothing has changed; perhaps you are inwardly changed and you are awaiting the outward manifestation of it.

In any case, thanks for writing about your process here. Glad the Quaker blogosphere has been a resource for you... and that you are returning the favor! smile

Liz, The Good Raised Up

6:06 PM  
Blogger Dave Carl said...


There is a change -- hard to put my finger on at the moment. I may go back at some point and revisit my hesitations in print -- sort of reply to them from "the other side!"

Its odd, in a way, that my reasons for joining were rather mundane and not seemingly rife with spiritual import. I've been invited by the meeting to serve as clerk, but there was a desire that I actually become a member of the meeting (if you can imagine!) So, although this assuredly must sound odd to some, I was really more interested in clerking (which did seem much more of a spiritual step) than I was in membership. Applying for membership was to an extent a concession to others so that I could delve deeper into the Quaker experience, although as Martin mentioned earlier here somewhere, I did also feel as though I were already a "member" inwardly so that the act of joining "outwardly" was merely an acknowledgment of the true state of affairs.

As of today I'm still not actually a member (there could always be some sort of uprising at biz meeting after all!), but I do now have a deeper appreciation for membership itself. The pamphlet title "members one of another" resonates, somehow. And there is a change.

4:14 PM  

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