Dozing, sensing and discerning

I escorted my wife this foggy  Sunday morning on the way to Portland.  She was teaching a fabric art class at A Common Thread.  I was planning to worship somewhere in the Portland area, then attend a threshing session with Multnomah Friends Meeting on the revision of Faith & Practice.

I wasn’t sure where to worship.  When out of town, I often want to try something new.   A Google search for ‘agnus dei Portland’ yielded little.  Somehow, I figured out I wanted Imago Dei Community.  The website told me it met at the wrong times.  I didn’t want to walk in late when I wasn’t sure I would even remain.  [Be patient, this involved story is leading somewhere.]

My best choices seemed to be arriving on time to West Hills Friends, where I had visited twice over the past dozen years, or arriving late at Multnomah.

She drove.  I dozed.   By our arrival at the site of her class, I knew I wanted to arrive on time and stay awake at West Hills.  That felt a better option than arriving late and sleeping in the back of the farther away silent meeting.

Mike‘s message at West Hills invited us to live in faith that God will lead us through our lives in this new year–moment  to moment, obviating the need for rules to live by.

During the worship following, I found myself reflecting on discernment.  Patricia Loring has cued me in on the prospects for discovery over a lifetime of a feeling and sensing way of discernment. “Earlier Friends, ” she writes, “often spoke of  ‘feeling after’ Truth…” (Loring, P.  1999. Listening Spirituality:  Corporate Spiritual Practice Among Friends.  Openings Press.  p. 73.)  This is different from the clear life leadings (career, marriage) with which God has shaken me in my boots and brought me to blessings beyond any I could expect.  This is practicing moment-to-moment reliance on the Spirit to help know which street to take or which coat to wear. Continue reading

Principles & Testimonies

By words it is not possible to judge another’s approach.  Words speak only the dead ideas that may flow from a living Spirit or an active–but essentially lifeless–principle.  Or they may flow from self seeking motivation cloaked in high language and good thoughts.  The news has brought us some stories of prominent preachers brought low when their self seeking was discovered.

This distinction is at the root of the differing experience around perfection.  Fox, underpinned by the leading of the Light–touching his very personal self from the moment he was coming into the world–could make claims that Paul and Winstanely (I think.) would admit they’d fall short of–because they were at heart the old man with a new man’s cloak.

What claims can we make?  What can we live up to?  What is underpinning me?  As I teach?  As I write?  As I love? Continue reading

A Workshop on Community Discernment

 I wrote the invitation below for my local meeting.  Some information about the workshop is at the top.  Then there is a list of the topics we had available to read about and perhaps discuss.  Third is a bibliography for the readings.

Friends have some unique and wonderful ways of deciding things together.  You’re invited to participate in learning more about them in a September Workshop on Community Discernment at Corvallis Friends Meeting.  We plan for two sessions before worship on 9/7 and 9/21/2008.  This could expand to more sessions, if we need it and are led there.

This is a response to some inklings felt by the Committees on Ministry & Oversight and Adult Religious Education.  Our meeting has many people serving in new responsibilities this year.   We have a unique organization with volunteer coordinators and short term volunteers that we all could benefit from careful consideration of.  We hope this session will be of use to all in our meeting and of particular use to committee clerks.

I have selected and copied some readings on various topics.  Continue reading

on Judgement and Acceptance

This morning’s prayers were filled with understandings of love and fear, judgement and acceptance.

For about a week, I’ve been consciously struggling through my obsession with issues at school.  It’s the start of the year, there’s much to think about and work overflows and preoccupies too much space in my life.   Unconsciously, this just happened from Labor Day or before until about a week ago.  I’ve been aware of it since then, praying and finding some healing.  Long term, I’ll be OK, I’m sure.

School is a place of judgement, sorting and evaluation.  This affects students powerfully.  It affects me as an employee, Continue reading