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Showing posts from May, 2008

Rooted in Experience

My last two posts were a personal reflection on some of the ways that trying to live my spiritual life true to the experiences I've had over the past seven years may have changed who I am in very basic ways.

When I began writing them, I didn't yet see the ways these posts dovetailed with the topic of my guest blog at The Wild Hunt. Now, though, they seem intimately connected: when we approach our spiritual lives as lived experiences, we necessarily open ourselves to the possibility of radical change--change at the root. That's unnerving, of course. But if we rise to the challenge, and allow our understandings to change in response to our experiences of God/the gods, I believe we will find ourselves living as we were meant to live, and growing as we were meant to grow.

If we have the courage to be willing to let go of what we believe our religious life ought to be about, and instead, accept it on our own terms, we might just learn a thing or two.

If you are interested in rea…

Is There Still a Pagan in Quaker Pagan Reflections? Part 2 of 2

(Continued from Part 1 of 2)

So, from the moment I felt the first stirrings of the Spirit of Peace within me, my easygoing relationship to polytheism was under threat.

It would all, from a Pagan point of view, have been so much easier if I had only been called by, say, Pugsley the Peace God. No problems accepting a Quaker Pagan whose god was one among the many! But it is not Pugsley I follow, and that does complicate matters.
There are, after all, Pagan gods whose interests are those of the warrior, and many Pagans have personal codes which more closely resemble Bushido than the peace testimony. One of my favorite Pagan scholars and writers, the courteous and peace loving Brendan Cathbad Myers, has just written a book, The Other Side of Virtue. I'm looking forward to reading it; I have listened to the chapter he read aloud at Deo's Shadow, and I found it fascinating how he drew the connections he did between heroic cultures, their literature and history, and a possibly system o…

Is There Still a Pagan in Quaker Pagan Reflections? Part 1 of 2

Sometimes, as I'm posting yet another reflection on yet another interaction with the world of Quakers, I'll ask myself, "What's so Pagan about Quaker Pagan Reflections?" Once or twice, doing some completely unrelated thing--folding my socks, for instance, or making soup--I'll hear a tiny voice saying, "You're a Quaker." As in, unhyphenated, plain ol', stop-being-so-bloody-precious-about-it, Quaker-style Quaker.
Regular readers may have noticed that I drop the "G" word around here with some regularity. God--as a word, at least, capitalized and used as a singular proper noun--makes regular appearances in my writing. My weekly and even monthly routines revolve around my Quaker meeting, to an extent that they no longer do around the local Pagan community. I no longer run a coven, teach classes on Paganism, or even write about it, as something separate from my Quaker life, all that much. I may very well attend no Pagan gatherings …

Thoughts from the Curb

To the many Pagans who said supportive things about my last post--thank you. Your kindness was much appreciated. That said, this one is going to be a pretty Quaker-centric post--I don't want you to think your support wasn't important, though, so I'm mentioning it first.

If, to strain a metaphor I used in my last post, the Quaker family had put me out on the street, it would be difficult to explain the many supportive comments I received.
I wrote that last post, "Theologically Queer," feeling braced against rejection by the Quaker community.

But almost as soon as the post went up, folks began trickling out of the house and sitting down next to me on the curb. Really kind, lovable folks. And nobody called me names, or even pointed out how silly I was being. Nope. They just came out to see how I was, and to wait patiently with me until I felt a bit better.

Peggy Senger Parsons--a woman I consider to be one of the spiritual grown-ups of the world--came out and sat next…

Theologically Queer

I have mixed feelings about the article Are the Quakers Going Pagan? that recently ran online. I've especially been challenged by the discussion which has followed the article, especially among Friends.

Evangelical Quaker Bruce Butler's blog post A Firm and Loving "No" is probably the best example of what I mean. Cause, I gotta say, while I'm hearing the Friend's "firm," I'm not really feelin' the "love."

I think I harbored some secret, painful wishes that, however heretical and perhaps flat-out wrong I might seem to the more conservative branches of Quakers, I would still be seen as a member of the family tree. Maybe in the place of the crazy elderly aunt or second-cousin who has too many cats, but still, part of the family.

I mean, maybe I even knew better, but I could not help but hope. Having lived my entire life in a Christian culture that disowned me, I've found more acceptance and welcome among Friends than I'd eve…