I hate leftovers. With the exception of Thanksgiving turkey, stuffing, and pie, I'd just as soon never see the food again once it's been cleared away at the end of the meal, and I'm personally affronted to discover some mouldering brick that used to be a last half-slice of lasagna, that nobody ever got around to eating, after all.
I will, in fact, go to any lengths to get the food eaten the first time it's set out... Be aware, if a guest in my home, you will be expected to finish up that last little spoonful of green beans left in the serving bowl! All because I hate leftovers so much.
And yet here it is, ladies and gentlemen: a hefty serving of Quaker Pagan leftovers--stuff that's been piling up in the editorial 'fridge around here, reconstituted for your reading pleasure. It's not elegant, but I will certify it 100% mold free. Mangia!
The Lost Blog Entry
Not sure how I did it, but it's gone, gone, gone. It had a brief half-life through Bloglines, and I managed to capture its ghost, but then my replacement Mac finally arrived (redeemed from the land of Microsoft once more! Can I hear an hallelujah?) and somehow managed to lose the rescued text during the move.
The post was not an earth-shaker, but for inquiring minds who may have missed it the first time around, it dealt with the fact that, having been interviewed by religion wire service reporter Daniel Burke, the resulting article Quakers Ask: What Do We Believe, and Why? came out about as well as could be expected. That is, Mr. Burke is a good writer and a careful reporter, but it's easier to make the point that Quakers are confusingly diverse in our understandings than it is to make the point that we are also puzzling able to find Unity amid our diversity, through Spirit.
I don't suppose mysticism ever fit neatly into even the best brief news article... I'm afraid I was a little irrationally disappointed at that. Still, it's not a bad article, and features quotes from a variety of Quakers more seasoned than Peter or I, including Catherine Whitmire, Thomas Hamm, Robin Mohr, and NEYM's own Jonathan Vogel-Borne.
Is Blogging Ministry?
I also spent a little time feeling panic-stricken as I realized I need to weigh seriously whether this blog is a form of ministry, and whether I should be asking my meeting to lend me some clearness and oversight around it. No answers yet, but I have, since the original post, had a long discussion with a weighty Friend on the subject. The thing that was most difficult about that was calling her up in the first place. Not only does it feel self-indulgent to ask for the time of a busy public Friend, but it feels much, much riskier to talk about such a thing with a member of my own meeting than it does to bare my soul online, in the faux-anonymity of the blogosphere.
I'm still quite interested in what other Quaker bloggers think of the possible need for clearness or oversight committees around blogs--but I'm deeply certain that what I needed very much to do was reach in to my own meeting on the question at this point. We'll see where the question takes me.
The truly grave part about losing that earlier post was losing the comment that seems to have been attached to it! At least, I cannot find it now, much to my sorrow!
A Quaker Pagan Book?
Jen--my memory does not furnish me a last name, and I'm not sure if she's a member of the Quaker Pagan listserve at Yahoo or not--contacted me with an announcement regarding a book proposal she's attempting to pull together for the Quaker Universalist Fellowship, on Quaker Pagans. Hopefully she'll stop by and see this post, and add more information--if she does, I'll put up a longtime post at the Quaker Pagan Back Page, with a link from the main blog.
The gist of the matter is that she's trying to pull together a sample table of contents at present. So, any other Quaker Pagans (or Quagans, Quiccans, Pagan Quakers, or--as one visitor to this blog once put it--Quaking Penguins) out there who have essays or ideas for essays on how earth spirituality and waiting worship combine, be aware, there is a call for your work! Hopefully, more details soon. (And, Jen, many apologies for my carelessness.)
Normally, I don't engage in memes, at least on the front page. (That's part of what I created The Back Page for.) But, in this case, I will as it gives me a chance to link to a blogger I have come to enjoy and admire,Mahud of Old and New Moons. I like Mahud's openness... and I'm also appreciative of the fact that, in a world where we are all expected to find clear labels for our spiritual journeys, he's willing to acknowledge complexity where his life sends it to him.
Mahud passes along these rules from Birch Grove:
You have to use your own belief system for the meme. No fair using someone else’s to make a joke or satire. Being humorous about your own religion is encouraged!
You have to have at least one joy and one trial. More are encouraged. And no, they don’t have to be equal in length, but please be honest.
You have to tag at least one other person. More are appreciated!
Please post these rules!
I'll try to be very brief here (just for the shock effect, for those who have grown used to my wordiness).
I keep meeting (in person or in the blogosphere) people I find truly loveable. Some of them shine from inside with the Light that they carry. Some of them are rocks of integrity, or models of balancing justice and gentleness. They instruct me and they inspire me... and sometimes they think I'm pretty cool, too. What is better than being loved back by people you deeply admire and love? What is better than the friendship of kind, wise-hearted men and women?
Well, maybe--maybe its the friendship of Spirit, of "The Friend of Friends," as Benigno called it in the Bible half-hours at NEYM, or the times when I'm standing in a forest, surrounded by hemlocks and maples with colors like illuminated stained glass, and I suddenly know that the forest is alive, that I love it with all my heart, and--get this--it loves...me...back.
The times when a breeze touches my face, and it's a caress from a god. The times when, in meeting for worship, I begin to tremble because the whole world is filled with joy--that drinkable Light from The Voyage of the Dawn Treader I wrote about the other day.
How about the fact that my capacity for joy has grown so much over the past year? I can feel it--I'm bigger inside than I used to be. I feel more alive--and I think I'm kinder, too.
My Trials:I keep falling off the mountain. There I am, feeling all cool and groovy and at one with Life and the Spirit...and then I get a headache, or I stay up too late surfing the Web, or I am mildly inconvenienced by some trivial household muck-up... and suddenly, there she is again: Bitchycat, same as ever.
I can go from 0 to 100 mph in lost temper. And while my brakes are getting better, I still frequently neglect to apply them in time. I hate how easily I let myself slide into self-righteousness, sloth, denial, and flat out cussedness. Hate it, hate it, hate it.
Oh, yeah. I also hate how every growth experience I've ever had has been wonderful, glorious, a cause for great rejoicing...in hindsight. At the time, I mostly feel tired, cranky, stupid beyond belief, mad at the gods and the whole world.
Growth is not graceful. I always remember it as if it were, once I've done some growing, but it's never fun at the time. Oh yeah! And the worst part? I'm never done--just when I think I've turned out pretty well, thank you very much, and you may bow down and worship my saintly wisdom now, ladies and gentlemen, I slip on another damned moral banana peel, and realize what an idiot I am all over again.
I really hate how it feels when I realize that I have not been faithful (to put it in Quakerese). And I really hate how hard it is to actually challenge myself, haul my butt off the couch, and try again to be faithful once I've figured that out.
Photo from Gluten Free Girl under Creative Commons License 2.5