Wednesday, October 03, 2007

On Spiritual Maturity

Peggy Senger Parsons is one of my absolutely favorite Quaker writers, and her blog, A Silly Poor Gospel, would be reason enough for a heretic like me to value Christianity, even if I knew no other wise and grounded Christians.

So it's not a total surprise that she has written some deeply wise words on the subject of spiritual maturity today--ideas she credits to her "Quaker Yoda", her friend Vivian, recently hospitalized for a heart attack and stroke.

Here's something I loved so much I had to share it:
Our value as children of God does not depend on our spiritual maturity - grandparents do not have more intrinsic worth than the babies - but neither are they less valuable. So it is with spiritual maturity. It is merely the natural consequence of time spent in the presence of the Holy One, like age is the natural consequence of life. But maturity is a need of, and a blessing to, the Body of Christ.

I know that my Pagan kin will prefer other words than "Body of Christ"--but the deeper concept I think transcends labels and sects.

Certainly, it speaks to my condition...

As I try to live out my spiritual path, I feel something deepening in me, and I love it, and I value it. It's something that I must allow, and even seek, and yet it does not make me any more lovable or worthy than those who have less of that ripening in them.

It is something that is coming about naturally, as I drink from the waters of Spirit at my meeting (and in nature, and in community, and in my beloved's eyes; find the Light in one place, and you'll see it again in many).

But it's not I alone who benefit, nor even other people I affect in daily life. Nope--"maturity is a need of, and a blessing to, the Body of Christ"--to the whole living, shining shebang of gods and Spirit and all.

Peter and I have asked one another what it is that the gods want of us, we puny and silly human beings. And we keep coming up with the notion that what they want most of all is for us to grow--so that we will be better company for them.

So that we will be in deeper communion with them--and with the Light, whether we call it Christ or Goddess, or have no name for it at all.

There's lots more good stuff. Go read the original post. (Even if you're a bit Christophobic, O Reader, go read it; it's worth the time to translate it into the language that God uses when She speaks to you.)

I'm very grateful to Peggy Senger Parsons... and that "her Yoda" is doing well, and hopefully will continue to heal.


Rebecca said...

Hi Cat,
Thanks for this post. And the last one -- that dream has really been sticking with me. I just wanted to pipe up and let you know I'm out here reading, and a lot of what you say really feeds my soul, and I'm grateful for it. I'd been looking forward to maybe seeing you this weekend, but my family isn't going to make it to that gathering this year after all. :-S Another time, I hope.

Rebecca (who circles with Laura)

Peggy Senger Parsons said...

Well, what a pleasant surprise to see this here. Thanks.

Vivian Thornburg, a resident of Friendsview Manor, Newberg Oregon, and an elder in Northwest Yearly Meeting, EFI, for who knows how long, is doing fine. The health scare was in May. When I saw her for the first time a few weeks later she looked like she had been on vacation, not had a near death experience. I guess she was not quite done.

I have no objection whatsoever to you using whatever language works for the spiritual ripening process in you. I have to muck about with language all the time to find ways to describe what the SPirit is doing in me. I presume we all do.

You are one of MY favorite bloggers.


Cat Chapin-Bishop said...

Rebecca, thanks for saying hello. I'm more than glad to know you've felt touched by some of what I've written here--thank you so much for letting me know!

Peggy, you make my day by saying that you like my blog! I was lucky enough to get to spend a little bit of time with Will T. . this week--the FUM General Board meeting is in our area, and our meeting was among those providing potluck. We both listed you as one of our favorite bloggers. (I know if you enjoy Will's posts as much as I do, you'll be happy to know he's a fan, too.)

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