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Showing posts from July, 2006

What's This Blog For?

Over the last few weeks, especially since the post about Ministry and Worship, I find myself asking what it is I want this blog to do. There's a temptation to use it as a place to represent Quakers to Pagans, and vice versa... something that can lead to a feeling of needing to be "a credit to my people." There's also a sense of wanting to represent the both/and experience--better, since I don't think there are yet many resources out there for that (and I, at least, don't feel represented by the ones I've found). But there, too, there's a temptation to self-censor a bit, to clean up the picture, and hopefully gain acceptance for both/ands everywhere... Again, this is a kind of pressure to propagandize that I don't need. Sometimes I want my words here to be a bridge of understanding. I want my Pagan friends to understand enough about my Quaker practices to know that, when I start talking about their importance in my life, I am _not_ preaching the

Ministry and Worship, Redux

Liz Opp, of The Good Raised Up (one of my favorite Quaker blogs) and Paul L, of Showers of Blessings , both wrote me very thoughtful, and, I thought, heartfelt comments on my recent post on joining Ministry and Worship at my meeting. Both Friends are concerned at the degree of disorientation (OK, panic) I expressed in that post. It may be that the level of concern arose at least in part because, in an attempt to be humorous about a challenging new experience, I instead managed to be confusing. But there was more than a hint of seriousness in that entry, and maybe I didn’t do the subject justice. So I’m going to try to think through these concerns as if they were part of a clearness committee. Hm. Blogging for clearness… not sure that one is going to make it into Faith and Practice anytime soon, but maybe it will be helpful to me. Liz, you raised a concern that I “may be missing some important experiences as a Friend, and those missing elements of course will impact [my] ability t

Bringing It Together

Over the last year, I've felt more and more as if my life were in pieces which, like separate ice flows, were drifting farther and farther apart. Quaker meeting, parenting my now 19-year-old, the New England landscape, old friendships and new ones, writing, my Pagan practice and community... everything except daily life with Peter has felt as if it were, though still there, less connected together, and less a part of a whole. This summer seems to be about balancing that, I'm happy to say. I think this is part of the reason I said yes to serving on Ministry and Worship: though I can't imagine it being anything but brutal to really find the time for this major additional commitment, once the school year begins, I'm also really hungry to deepen both my worship and my connection to Mt. Toby. It feels like time. The 11:40 hour worship sharing sessions over the last few weeks, on the spiritual disciplines of MFW, have been a wonderful tool for jump-starting me in worship.

Ministry and Worship Committee

Well, that was bracing. Last night was the first meeting of Ministry and Worship to which the two new members, Geoff and I, were invited. Geoff clearly knew what was expected of him and followed everything that was going on. (Though we became members of our meeting at about the same time, it turns out he'd been an attender for years and years when he applied.) I just as clearly was lost, lost, lost! At one point I commented that I had expected to be a little out of my depth, but I felt as if I were walking on the ocean floor. Nancy reminded me that I was completely welcome to ask questions--but I am the kind of lost that makes framing questions very, very difficult. It's not so much that I have questions--though I do! Thousands, it feels like. In this committee, do we just talk, or do we carefully observe silence after each member speaks? (Quakers can be so bloody quiet anyway, it's hard to tell a silently waiting Quaker from a just plain silent one.) Do we avoid res

Peter on Centering and Silence

This is Peter, chiming in at last. Cat has been after me for months to post something here, but I just don't have a Blogger's temperament. I do keep a journal, though, so I'm going to post a few of my journal entries here. I'll start with one from last Sunday: Quaker meeting this morning, followed by an 11:40 hour on centering and silence, and it is clear to me that I need to begin a regular practice of preparation for worship that will include some serious Pagan/Wiccan trance and spell work. Probably starting with a Tarot spread. I probably also need to stop napping in the middle of the day, ever. I just don’t have the focus to listen for the silence this year, and I need to recover that. I fall asleep in meeting, often, but more than that, my mind wanders off in all kinds of directions, mostly thinking about miniatures. [I collect and paint pewter Dungeons & Dragons miniatures as a hobby.] I’ve known for years that I can’t let myself paint minis on a Sund

Beyond the "W" Word

CONTINUED FROM "THE 'W' WORD" , JUNE 17 I keep telling myself I'm going to go back and complete the thought I started, on what I am comfortable terming my religious life, and why. And I do keep trying. I've written at least three drafts so far, ranging from the purple to the clinical. Here's my latest try--I'm going to see if I can manage to keep it simple. I hardly ever call myself Wiccan--or a Witch--any more. Why? Many things about how I live my life have been changing since becoming Quaker (and since becoming a teacher, though that's a reflection for another day). But this was changing long before that. So it's not about being Quaker, though it may share a root. I do know that I've long been drawn to simpler and fewer forms. Being Wiccan is, it seems to me, in part a matter of the forms you have studied and hopefully mastered--ritual technologies having to do with cultivating intuition, focusing will and intention, and linking y