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Showing posts from October, 2007

Samhain Blessings

It's Samhain...and I'm not at work.

I didn't try for a religious holiday from my employer. Though I'm pretty well "out" as a Pagan to the faculty and students who care to know, I've hardly made a point of my Paganism to my administration. Can't have it both ways, after all--maintain that my religion is a personal matter, and then go out of my way to make it universally known. And, though having a whole website on the matter might be expected to take any concerns about my "hiding" anything off the table, the fact that I'm also a Quaker--and "out" about that, as well, to anyone who cares to know--means that my religious identity does not fit easily into a soundbite.

As any American in this era of televised political news can tell you, we are not a people who take well to nuance. Anyone whose beliefs, practices, or understandings go beyond soundbites is immediately suspect.

So I didn't ask to take the day off on religious gro…

Peter on Names

I’ve decided to try spelling it “G*d.” I once saw a Jewish author do that. It was thirty years ago and I no longer remember who the writer was, but I recognized at the time that he was echoing the practice the ancient Hebrews had of never speaking the name of the Holy One. I think that practice came partly out of a deep, visceral nervousness about too lightly invoking a Name of such Power, but I think also it was a way of reminding themselves of the transcendent and ineffable nature of their God. YHVH was father to His children, but He was also creator of the universe, and it was an awfully big universe even back then. You could call Him Papa, but you always knew He had a special secret name besides; a Name that spoke of infinity and eternity and thus would never fit on a human tongue. I’m probably projecting more onto ancient Hebrew theology than was really there. Modern Christian ideas about infinite-and-eternal-God may descend more from Aristotle than from Abraham. If so, …

Afternoon Thoughts

A couple of quick things today. (Even if I finish the next part of the spiritual journey series, I won't be posting it tonight--this one is hard to write, and deserves some discernment time when I eventually do finish it.)

First off: I've been reading through a couple of the blogs I was following closely all summer. I hate that I don't have the time to stay up-to-date on all the Pagan and Quaker writers I love... but I'm very happy to notice that many of those same writers feel a bit like old friends who I may not see for months or even years on end, but who somehow I can always settle back into intimacy with.

Reading through the comments on one Quaker blog today, noting the level of honesty and openness I find there, I found myself thinking, "I love (insert name here)."

And this is about a person I have never met.

Does this make me unrealistic? Some kind of boundaryless freak?

I don't think so. Sure, if I had to live with and wash dishes with a lot of the…

Religious Freedom to Marry Appeal

Though this appeal is being made to the Pagan community, and is a wonderful chance for us to come together and show our values on the subject of GLBT equality, I would also like to encourage Quaker readers who support this cause to read Maureen's letter carefully. There's no reason that words like "religious", "spiritual", and "faith" should become the province of people who equate their own bigotry with the will of God(s. The Religious Coalition for the Freedom to Marry, whose activism was key in gaining recognition for same sex marriage in Massachusetts, will happily work for the inclusive spiritual insights of both my faith communities.

I still remember my tears of joy on the day that same sex marriage became legal in my home state... It was a time of many challenges for me personally, but that moment has become one of my touchstone moments. My own marriage has been a source of such wonder and depth in my life, that it breaks my heart to think…

Cat's Spiritual Journey, Part IX: Felicia Hardy and the Tower of Babel

All posts in this series:
Part I: Getting (and Losing) That Old Time Religion
Part II: Coming Home
Part III: The Fool's Journey
Part IV: The Underworld
Part V: Seven of Cups
Part VI: A Letter and a Kiss
Part VII: Morticia Loves Gomez
Part VIII: Nora
Part IX: Felicia Hardy and the Tower of Babel
Part X: When Babel Fell
Part XI: Community 2.0
Part XII: This Forgiveness Stuff

Picture this:
You stand in a forest. All around you, a rich smell of leaf mulch and growth fills the air. Receding into the distance are the boles of giant trees, redwoods, towering, and in the peak of green life.

From above, shafts of light pierce the canopy and slant toward the forest floor, like light piercing the living silence of a cathedral. Except for the singing of one far-off bird, there is no sound but the soft drips of moisture from the canopy above--the sound of life too rich and strong to measure.


Now picture this:
A woman stands before you. She is round, with a wasp waist and tiny feet, but otherwise like an …

New Druid Blog

David Miley, a Druid whose comments have appeared here at QPR on occasion, has begun a new blog of his own! My knowledge of David is entirely online, but his writing and his seeker's spirit have both impressed me many times. His initial entry into the blogosphere is an unusual reflection on a traditional Arthurian story which I quite liked--no surprise there, from the writer of pieces like "There is a Sound":
There is a Sound,
That supports the World.

It is tree dance
And brook babbling.
It is summer storm and volcano.
It is in us and apart.
As loud as sleigh bells -
Still, you may not hear it.

Touch tree.
Face fear.
Light fire.
Dance in moonlight.
Make love.
Sing.

The Sound is silent
Til you sing it.

For more glimpses into David's world, stop by his brand new livejournal blog. Here's hoping it will be a rich and productive outlet for his words.

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&…