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Showing posts from August, 2012


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 o

Peter asks, what thou speakest, is it inwardly from the Gods?

Last month, I went to the annual gathering of Friends General Conference, one of the large umbrella organizations that many of the Yearly Meetings belong to.  While there, I met several other Friends who also identify as Pagan.  One of them wrote to me afterwards, asking himself questions about the compatibility of Quaker and Pagan religious paths.  What follows is based on my response to him:  What Quakerism and Paganism share most profoundly is that both are experiential religions.  Neither one demands that you believe a doctrine or recite a creed, but both lead you through experiences by which you come to experience the Divine directly. Those experiences often happen on a level that is wordless.  The Gods transcend language, but human beings live by words.  The Gods break us open, changing us at our deepest levels; words knit us together again in our new forms.  All of the Quaker testimonies, and all of the Pagan myths, are afterthoughts, and subject to change. Not random chang

Stewards of Joy

I am blessed by some remarkable friendships. One friendship that has grown over time into something extraordinary is the one I share with my Quaker friend Kathleen .  Kathleen loves to tell the story of how she and I met at a Woolman Hill retreat a few years back: she had found herself, a deeply committed Christian, feeling at loose ends among the liberal Quakers she knew then, as few of them spoke much or often about the Christian aspects of their Quaker practice--and, indeed, many did not consider themselves to be Christian at all. So, being Kathleen, she prayed about it.  She asked to find someone she could connect with deeply about her spiritual journey, someone with as deep and important a reliance on Jesus as she had. What she got was me. This makes us both laugh--and laugh with joy.  Because we can both see that Spirit gave her (and me) exactly what we needed, even if it was not exactly what either of us had been looking for.  For, while she has gone on to make many com