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, February 27, 2008

Not Without Reason

A Friend e-mailed that she was about to embark on some spiritual exercises including fasting. She said she expected that her fast, undertaken in the spirit of Christ, would have a different quality from a fast previously undertaken in connection with another religious tradition. She questioned the rationality of this expectation, and I replied that perhaps whe was being "suprarational." She asked what this meant, so I went to Merriam Webster's online and found this definition:

"transcending the rational : based on or involving factors not to be comprehended by reason alone "

This definition was very close to what I was trying to express (I love it when that happens): it implies something that isn't without rationality, but that draws on other faculties such as intuition, "leadings of the spirit," etc. Thus I try to be careful about words like "irrational" -- just as "All God's critters have a place in the choir," and all Friends in Meeting for Worship with Attention to Business will be heard, so all inner "phenomena" (as the Buddha put it) get their hearing in the presence of the attentive and affectionate Christ within. This does not imply that every inner "nudge" will lead to action or expression, or even ultimate acceptance, but it will get (on my better days at least) an opportunity to be examined "in the light" where the wheat may be discerned from the chaff.


Thursday, February 21, 2008

Experience God Through Meditation

I found this interview very interesting. What I like about it is that a lot of things many of us have ventured off to other traditions and teachings to find is actually at the heart of our own "western"/middle-eastern derived tradition as well. I like that. I like the feeling that we are not strangers to these truths who have to go on exotic jaunts to find them. I do feel blessed to have had access to other traditions and do not wish to close myself off to their wisdom, -- I don't experience religion as a competitive sport -- but it feels like a homecoming to me to find the seeds of truth in my own heritage.

Experiencing God Through Meditation
Former Trappist monk James Finley talks about the spiritual benefits of contemplative practice for Christians.


Friday, February 15, 2008

From my Guide

If you accept all that I bring into your life,
whether it seems pleasing to you or not
and even if you do not agree with it,
but are willing to accept its reality
and to be with and simply experience that reality
for a period of time
then I will show you how what I have brought you
contains the seeds of growth and change
and I will give you the wisdom and the power
to live into my reign of heaven
on this earth through you.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Virtual Bumper Sticker

Jesus was earthy!

Wednesday Worship Musings

Endlessly deep
Endlessly wide
Endlessly high
God without end

Endlessly deep
Endlessly wide
Endlessly high
Christ without end

Endlessly deep
Endlessly wide
Endlessly high
Spirit without end,
Love without end

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

What Canst Thou Sing?

Robin M discusses how music fits into unprogrammed quaker worship on her blog, What Canst Thou Say.

As much as I treasure the whole concept of unprogrammed worship,
the expectation of spirit-led spontaneity doesn't necessarily fit with the realities of musical performance.

In my Unitarian days, I performed in Church regularly. I knew when I was going to play, and it motivated me to learn a new tune, practice it, come up with interesting guitar parts, perhaps rehearse with a musical partner, etc. But other than that I'm not a regular performer. So I don't have a "stock" of songs just ready to "spontaneously" burst into when led by the spirit. If I were going to pick up my guitar and sing or play something, it would have to have been pretty intentionally planned and prepared before hand.

I suppose one solution to that dilemma is to prepare (but is that even kosher?) and then see if the spirit leads me to actually follow through. But the cards would be pretty stacked by that time, I think. "If the flesh is ready, the spirit will be willing?"

'What can I do?' - SiCKO