Thursday, April 19, 2007

quaker blog carnival!

Today Quaker bloggers all over the blogosphere are uniting to send a shout-out to, which is a great resource for connecting all of us Quaker bloggers with each other and with interested readers. Martin Kelley runs it and does an excellent job! As a tribute we're invited to say what QuakerQuaker has meant to us, which is funny, because I just wrote a post about that a couple weeks ago on our meeting's website,, to let people know about this resource so they can joing the "Quaker conversation."

Just tonight I was leading a small group on early Friends, and we were talking about how we are feeling called to act in radical ways similar to those the early Friends did, and how important it is to have a community to act with. Someone else brought up that they appreciated finding out from my blog entry on the meeting's website about QuakerQuaker, so the movement is growing!!!

To expand on what I already wrote on the other blog, I really appreciate QuakerQuaker because it helps us to see that we're not alone in our questions for the Society of Friends, as well as our passion for our shared history and our desire to follow the Spirit into the future as we are led. If it wasn't for QuakerQuaker I don't know if I ever would have found any other Quaker blogs. It's so cool to be able to go to one site and see a list of Quaker blogs, and not only that but to see which entries are most interesting that day! It's very helpful, because I don't have time to read everyone's blogs (unfortunately).

I'm so encouraged by the conversation and the true community that we've formed. I feel like perhaps I'm not a very good part of that community because although I read lots of posts I don't always have time to respond to others' posts (or even to comments on my posts...), but still, I gain so much joy and encouragement through reading what other Quakers are thinking.

Thanks, Martin, for thinking of this and working to make it happen! It's a great gift to us all, and a definite ministry.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

would i have liked george fox?

Since I've been reading Fox's Journal and writing some posts about it, and noticing that several people are talking about how they wouldn't have liked Fox if they'd met him, I've been wondering if I would have liked him or not.

I think the answer is "yes." I think maybe he would've gotten on my nerves because he was so sure he was right all the time, and so often he was right! And it does seem like he was a pretty intense character, so it may have been difficult to be around him much. But I think I definitely would have been drawn to his passion for God and his intense, uncompromising integrity.

I keep wishing for someone like that in our day and age--someone with that kind of passion and...I don't know, charisma? Someone to rally people around them in a positive way, to do something good for the world and to follow God in radical ways. People call me a leader but really I want to be a follower--I want someone else to lead us to the vision that we are collectively hearing and seeing as "convergent Friends," someone to get us moving, not just talking. I have a hard time doing this myself, or at least by myself. It's helpful having this blogging forum that lets us know we're not alone in our thoughts and convictions, but at the same time, it seems like momentum takes so long to build up. I want there to be someone like Fox to get us all mobilized and ready for action!

I don't know who originated the quote "Be the change you want to see in the world," but I like the quote--at least in theory. I think it's very true, that we have to be the ones who enact change in the world or else it's never going to happen. I think George Fox did this in amazing ways. He wasn't afraid to challenge the status quo and make people angry. He didn't care if his words were too much, too soon for most people. He just said and did what he felt called to, without compromise, cheerfully, and somehow lovingly. I think I definitely would have liked him, although I might have been intimidated by him!

hospitality to God

Blogger Paul L wrote a post about offering hospitality to God in our meetings, and has some excellent thoughts and queries. This is something I've been thinking a lot about, although not with this language of hospitality, which I really like.

To me, the ultimate hospitality is making one's home available as the home of another. I think of how I feel over at my parents-in-laws' house. My husband and I lived there for several years, renting an apartment section of their house, and now whenever we think of "home," that's where home is. Whenever we go over there we know we're welcome. We know where most things are, and we know how to help ourselves to food.

This is how I envision our meetings for worship. They're a coming home for all of us, where we're all welcome and comfortable, and we know how to get the sustenance we need. God offers us hospitality. (Home should also be a place of challenge, where we are held accountable to being the best people we can be. If we went over to my in-laws' and ate all their food for every meal and never paid for anything, left our dirty dishes out and tracked in mud and never helped clean up, we would need to be held accountable!)

But I like the idea of offering God hospitality, too. Paul L. said something about inviting God in, making space in our lives where God is welcome, etc. But even deeper than creating a space in the clutteredness of our lives, what if we invited God to be at home there, and to do with the clutter as S/he wishes? What if we didn't clear the space, like cleaning house before company arrives, but just invited God in to see the mess we generally live with? This can be true for both individuals and communities of faith.

What I've been pondering for quite some time is our expectations of what God will "do" in meetings for worship. Do we expect God to show up? Do we have that "holy expectancy" that Thomas Kelley talks about? Do we expect God to do something out of the ordinary? Or do we expect to come to meeting and have a nice hour of semi-silence; or a nice time of singing and listening to a nice message and silence and chatting with F/friends? Do we expect to be challenged and to have to grow from what we hear in meeting? Does our hospitality only go so far as polite conversation in the sitting room, or does it extend to the mildew in the corners of the bathroom tile and the dust bunnies under the furniture? Does it extend past our facades of who we want to be, or say we are, as Friends and don't quite live up to? Are we only polite friends or acquaintances with God, or are we intimate, sharing living space, willing to get down to the nitty-gritty, with this God we've invited in?