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Showing posts from August, 2007

Quaker Pagan Book Proposal

As per Stasa : "About the book on Pagan Quakerism which Jen Chapin-Smith is editing: Friends who are interested can contact her directly at jench1977 at hotmail dot com." This announcement will remain posted longterm at Quaker Pagan Reflections' Back Page area. Stasa has also posted at her blog a report on her experiences , particularly with the Pagan Quakerism workshop she facilitated, at FGC's Gathering this year.

A Meal of Leftovers Today

My in-laws are thrifty people, who waste very little. One of the ways this gets reflected is in their careful use of leftovers--the one baked potato that didn't get eaten gets saved, fried up with onions, and served all around, the quarter cup of pasta and seafood is set out on a plate next to the half a reuben sandwich left from the trip to the diner, and so on. I hate leftovers. With the exception of Thanksgiving turkey, stuffing, and pie, I'd just as soon never see the food again once it's been cleared away at the end of the meal, and I'm personally affronted to discover some mouldering brick that used to be a last half-slice of lasagna, that nobody ever got around to eating, after all. I will, in fact, go to any lengths to get the food eaten the first time it's set out... Be aware, if a guest in my home, you will be expected to finish up that last little spoonful of green beans left in the serving bowl! All because I hate leftovers so much. And yet here

Cat's Spiritual Journey, Part VIII: Nora

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 Somewhere, buried in a file cabinet in this house, is a news clipping about my family, a human interest story about the Pagan extended family and group household that we became within a year or two of my marrying Peter... Call it 1993 or 1994. What I remember best about the piece is scene the photograph tried to capture, a regular one in our home: Peter sits in one chair, the latest in a series of Terry Pratchett novels in his hand. He is reading aloud to us all. In a matching armchair, cup of tea beginning to dangle from her hand as she slides from listening toward sleep, is Nora, Peter's 90+ year old gra

God Stuff and God Talk (Cat)

Not too long ago, I was visiting the home of a close Pagan friend of mine, and I made mention of "God" in a conversation which included Laura's very bright and inquiring son. Laura stopped me, saying, "In this house, when someone says 'God' we always ask, 'which one?'" And it's true--adopting monotheistic language can make polytheist, panenthest, animist, and nontheist points of view invisible. Laura, of course, was politely insisting I not marginalize her son's religion (and hers) in her own home. The irony, of course, is that we're co-religionists, she and I. I don't mind at all Laura calling me on apparently privileging monotheism, particularly in the context of her family life. But if I describe my experiences among Friends at NEYM this year in any detail, I'm going to wind up using a lot of words and phrases that may give my Pagan friends reason to get a little nervous about me "going native" in my time amon

Headbutting the Hornets' Nest (Peter)

Cat and I spent a good chunk of this gathering participating in a three-day workshop on what it means to be a Quaker missionary. The woman running it, Eden Grace , is a field staff worker (a.k.a. “missionary”) in Kenya. She’s an FUM Quaker and an evangelical Christian. We signed up for this workshop specifically because it would be challenging, would push us to deepen our understanding of the current controversy over the FUM personnel policy that has been threatening to schism NEYM, and (at least in my case) broaden my perspective on what it means to be Quaker. Eden began the workshop by doing something I can only describe as headbutting the hornets’ nest. She passed out index cards and had each of us write down to things that came to mind when we heard the word “missionary,” then she collected them, shuffled them, passed them out again and had each of us read out loud the two we got. (We were, remember, a room full of liberal New England Quakers teetering on the edge

Coming home to NEYM (Peter)

I arrived at my second New England Yearly Meeting (a Quaker gathering of about 600 people) right on the heels of my first MerryMeet. MerryMeet kind of sucked for me, though not through anyone’s fault. I was exhausted, and low blood sugar left me feeling cranky and cynical about Pagan politics. Very glad we took a day off before hopping in the car and driving down to Rhode Island. Very different Yearly Meeting from last year. Very different experience, at least. Just came from a Bible Half-Hour lead by Benigno Sanchez-Eppler. I can’t begin to paraphrase or even summarize it. I wish I had a transcript, so I could post it. I hear Cat tap-tap-tapping in the next carrel. Maybe she can capture some of what was said. I don’t think I’ve done nearly as much writing as I had by this point in the week last year. Partly that’s not having a working laptop this summer. More, though, it’s that I don’t want to miss anything. (Thoreau’s quote, something along the lines of “My life has been

Meanwhile, Back at the Quaker Ranch

There's an immense line for lunch just now, so I'm going to grab a quick blog before trying to get myself fed--again. (Didn't I just eat? Gotta learn not to take one of each as a strategy for dealing with this much food.) I had been feeling a bit flat, yesterday. Some of that may have been simple fatigue--it turned out that MerryMeet, whatever else it may have been, was ruddy exhausting, at least for me. I can't even imagine what Laura and Jennifer are feeling like today; in comparison, I hardly worked at all. That flat feeling may also have been due to arriving late. Due to aforesaid exhaustion, Peter and I yielded to reality, and did not pile our weary selves into the car until yesterday morning, almost a day later than we'd planned to leave. We arrived just in time to hear the Keynote Address, by South African Friend Duduzile Joyce Mtshazo. That was great--I had very much wanted to hear her--but not being at an event from the start may have left me feeling


I had actually never attended any part of a MerryMeet before this week. The last time one was held in New England was back around 1989 or 1990, and I didn't know anyone in The Covenant of the Goddess back then. At this point, though, I know lots of people, though there were many I'd never met in person before. That, of course, added to the fun. Drake Spaeth and I both had the eerie sense that we had, in fact, met before, owing to our photos being familiar to one another through the Cherryhill Seminary faculty page , and through emails relating to Cherryhill. I finally got to shake hands with Michael York , who I've known online for ages, but never before met in person, and Laura is right--he has the most remarkable eyes I think I've ever seen...and is utterly, utterly charming. Alas, I did not really have time for a proper sitting on the rug, let-down-your-hair, let your mind run free conversation with either of these fellows, nor with Andras Corban Arthen , whom