Skip to main content

Errata

In Part 1 of my Open Letter, I feel that I made two important errors, and I need to own them here.

The first was a lack of clarity on when I was asking that Christian Friends should take pains to discern the will of Spirit in sharing based on the Bible or Christianity.  I was not as clear as I meant to be that I was not talking about when Christians speak among themselves, or when established friends within a spiritual community are speaking to one another.  My caution applies to cases where Christian Friends--within liberal meetings, where it is relevant, as it is not in the other branches of Friends--speak in meeting for worship, or on behalf of their meetings or one-on-one with non-Christians they don't know.  In those situations, the dangers from outrunning our Guide is great, and a good way to avoid hurting one another unnecessarily is to stay low to Spirit while speaking boldly and confidently what Spirit gives us to share.

Some took my words to mean that every mention of the Bible and Christianity needed to be subject to a discernment process, and that wasn't my intention at all.

The second error was more serious, because it wasn't just a place where my writing was unclear, but one where I lost my own ability to do exactly what it was I was asking others to do: I did not stay low myself, and I outran my Guide. 

My Bible scholarship is also questionable, but that's really almost beside the point; if it had been solid as steel, it was still not mine to say, and I regret posting it.

I've changed the copy of Part One to strike the two paragraphs where I feel that I did this, but because so many people saw the original, it feels wrong not to acknowledge my error, so I'm doing that with a hyperlink to this post.  You can see the bit that I cut, with its context around it, below.
As I am obligated to stay low and faithful in my listening to you, you are equally obligated to stay low and faithful listening to me.

Your Jesus didn't choose his company based on their theological purity.  Do you really think that the non-Jews he cared for were mere charity cases and hangers-on?  Did he never listen to their words, consider their perspectives on the world?

Try not to be more arrogant than your god, when non-Christians speak.  You never know--we might be how That Spirit is talking to you today.

Some of you--most of you--understand this very deeply.  For that especially, I am grateful.  You did not only let me through the door--you sat at the table with me, and we have shared that particular spiritual communion.

Comments

Joanna Hoyt said…
I am humbled and instructed by the very high standard to which you hold yourself.

Whether or not it was yours to say at that time in that post, I believe that I have heard That Spirit speaking in your voice.

Thank you.

Popular posts from this blog

Bears Eat My Lettuce

I love where I live;  since moving to our new home four years ago, I've been able to build a relationship with a piece of land for the first time since I was a child.  It's everything a dirt-worshipping Pagan could ask for.  I have a garden, and I grow much of my own food, and that is as much a spiritual delight as a taste treat.  And I have woods again as neighbors: glacial boulders, white pines and black birches, owls and white-tailed deer.

And bears.

And the bears eat my lettuce.



I'm not kidding about that.  Oh, it's winter now, and the bears are huddled up in their dens.  But this past spring, I grew lettuce.  Award winning, gorgeous lettuce: three different kinds!  They were nourished to extraordinary size and succulence by the cool, wet weather we had, and each night, I would gather just a few outer leaves, knowing that careful tending would mean tasty salads for months.

And then, over the course of three days, the bears ate every single one of my lettuce plants…

The Saturday Farm

I love Saturdays.

I have come to think of the work that I do on Saturdays as "farming."  Now, I know it isn't farming--not really.  We have a medium-sized vegetable garden and two dogs, and that's not a farm, by any stretch of the imagination. 

But I keep thinking of a comment Joel Salatin made in Yes Magazine once, about how Americans have become used to thinking of our homes as centers of consumption, but how once, thinking of your home as a center of production (typically, a farm, for most of us for most of our history) was the norm.

And between trying to live with less plastic junk and trying to eat more sustainably and locally, Saturdays at home have become very productive days.  And that productivity--the willingness to substitute patience, skill, and thrift for consumption--I've come to think of as a species of farming.  (My apologies to actual farmers, whose work I increasingly appreciate.  But thinking in this way works for me, somehow.)

First thing this…

On Activism and Ordinary Acts

One of the dangers of being Quaker--or Pagan--is a privilege at the same time.

Quakers and Pagans share a somewhat counter-cultural view of our society.  In slightly different ways, most Quakers and most Pagans believe that human society is flawed in bitterly destructive ways that must be confronted and changed.  We look out at a world burdened by the selfish exploitation of whole nations of human beings, and of the ecosystem itself, and we know that things as they are are not OK.

The privilege and the danger that arises from this is that of associating with activists.

It's a privilege, of course, to have a chance to be inspired by those who are willing to risk imprisonment or even death to be faithful to their spiritual convictions.  This inspirational force is excellent for warding off complacency and the kind of internal self-congratulation that degrades possessing a moral compass into mere spiritual materialism and self-worship.

When I have done some small thing outside the no…