Tuesday, January 31, 2006

alive & kicking! (that's not very quaker, is it?)

i'm a quaker...but what does that mean? i wonder the same thing sometimes. i got to go to the world gathering of young friends 2005 in lancaster, england--very cool! (see the website, www.wgyf.org.) there were so many awesome people there, and i was so crazy-busy i didn't get to talk to most of them in half as much depth as i would have liked. but the basic thing i think most people noticed about the world gathering was that there is so much diversity in quakerism.

so to define myself within the quaker realm...i'm a birthright friend, grew up in oregon. i attended an unaffiliated unprogrammed meeting until i was 11, then a programmed meeting (part of evangelical friends int'l) until this year, and now i moved to new jersey for seminary and i'm going to an unprogrammed meeting (friends general conference/friends united meeting). if i could choose which branch of friends to be part of i think i'd be a conservative friend--because they have unprogrammed meetings (unlike efi/most of fum) and they try to stay pretty close to the vision of early friends, even that crazy jesus character (unlike most of fgc). so i'm kind of this amalgam of all of them, finding truth and goodness, as well as not-so-goodness, in each branch.

then there's the question--a quaker, attending seminary??? what is this world coming to? and a theologically "reformed" one at that...

it's this whole "reformed" theology which has got me blogging. i think i'm the only quaker here, so i get a little protestanted-out sometimes. (i think of quakers as protestants to the protestants.) anyway, so right now i'm taking a systematic theology class, and it's very interesting, challenging my own theological assumptions (like, y'know, that God can speak to anyone, anytime, and does do so on a regular basis...that the Spirit keeps revealing stuff to us if we pay attention...just "little" stuff like that...) so i'm thinking i'll use this blog as a space to process and try to articulate what i'm learning, and what about it rubs my quaker sensibility wrong.

why the title of the blog, you ask? well, i like quaker oats, as my husband will tell you--i eat them most mornings for breakfast. (by the way, does anyone know if it's true that the guy on the box is ben franklin, not a quaker at all? i've heard that but don't know if it's just an urban legend or what.) plus, right now i'm taking hebrew, and there's a hebrew word that sounds like "oat" which means "sign or mark," so i always remember it because oats are a "sign or mark" of my breakfast! so this blog (and tons of other great quaker ones out there i just found while procrastinating from homework) is a "sign or mark" that quakers are still alive...and (pacifistically speaking) still kicking--at least on the web.


Liz Opp said...

Hey, Cherice, I see you've been blogging for a couple months now-- Sorry to have missed your earlier posts; I'll have to play catch up, I guess!

About Friends in seminary: out here in the Twin Cities, I know of at least two long-time Friends who either have graduated from seminary (is that what it's called?) or are currently attending... So it's not as weird a thing to me as it might be to you. Who knows: maybe there are closeted Quaker seminarians in New Jersey! smile

Well, onto looking at a few more posts before I hit the road...

Liz, The Good Raised Up

cherice said...

Thanks for reading, Liz! It's good to meet you over cyberspace, and thanks for the encouragement about seminary.

Zach A said...

I echo Liz's (first comment) comment... and I like the phrase "protestants to the protestants" (:

I lean towards Conservative Friends too, and go to an evangelical college (Gordon) where I am the only Quaker, and get too Protestanted-out pretty much of the time.

Which meeting in NJ do you go to? I visited Trenton MM once, since my mother and sister just moved near Trenton. I go down there fairly often; maybe I'll bump into one of these days.

Be well,
Zach Alexander.