Toward a network of Friends practicing discipline

Meeting took a blessedly long time today.  Worship, twilight meeting, introductions (brief info beyond names from each of us this time), announcements (Feeling domestic, I skipped out and laid out some of the Pajama Walkingpotluck.), conversation, one child’s play (Pajama Walking, scene one), potluck, followed by the most anticipated event–for me, at least.

This last happening was a first effort by the whole meeting toward a report on the state of our Society.  We drew from a hat and read what different Friends have written in response to two prompts:

∙    let us ask the Inner Light to show us what in our individual spiritual practice is strong, and
∙    what could use more encouragement and support…

Ten Friends showed up;  others wrote brief answers, but didn’t come.  To me, this seemed a good way to begin.  It’s personal.  It’s introspective.  It asks about our spiritual practice.  It’s reminiscent of some of the first Queries, such as, “How, among Friends, did Truth advance since last Yearly Meeting and how do they fare in relation to peace and unity?”  This annual report on the state of the Society is what some Friends seem to have adapted from the practice of more frequently minuting answers to the queries. Continue reading

Beer, Hymns and more at the Wild Goose Festival

Here’s a note I sent to my favorite sociologist of religion religious sociologist:

So, if all those people take the Belief-O-matic quiz and find out they’re Quaker, where do they end up?

I found one spot at this past weekend’s Wild Goose Festival.  Attended by 800 in its first gathering west of the Appalachians, the festival brought together  people at the intersection of spirituality, justice, music and art.  Continue reading

Honks and labels

I was cycling my way to meeting on a recent Sunday and passing cars honked at me.

But it’s not that simple.  You see, I was in Seattle, or rather its northern suburbs.  I’m not familiar with them.  I’m not a city boy, nor a suburbanite.  For the past week or more, I had eagerly planned this bike ride of about two hours.  It included three sections.  First, some hilly residential way-finding along twisty roads.  Then a middle section along several miles of Burke-Gilman Trailthe extensive Burke-Gilman lakefront trail, which Seattle has only recently converted from an old rail line.  The journey would finish (I hoped.) through an urban residential and commercial area leading to the Central Area Senior Center where South Seattle Friends meet.

I had loaded my bike on the rack for a six hour car journey, unloaded it that morning at the hotel in Lynnwood, and fueled up on the hotel’s breakfast.  I was set with a Google maps route especially plotted for a bicycle.  Somehow the Seattle bike map hadn’t been at the hotel waiting for me, although I had requested online that one be sent.  Seemed like a small problem.  Continue reading

Intergenerational Worship

The meeting room for Corvallis Friends looked a bit different this morning.   Big sheets of newsprint were spread around the floor.  All who came were invited to lie down and be traced around, yielding a body outline.

A special invitation had been issued to children, letting them know that worship would be designed to include them.  A few adults, seeking a quieter space on this Easter Sunday, chose to absent themselves.  Some probably chose to join the early walk and outdoor worship, which gathered at 6:20 am in a local park.

After many body outlines had been traced and some posted on the walls, I explained that the markers, yarn, ribbon, flowers and glue could be used at any point during worship to add to the image of one’s body.  I asked Friends to notice how the feelings within and recognize them.  I explained that George Fox had written about this process many years ago and that contemporary Friends, some of them in our meeting, were rediscovering the ways our Teacher is present in our hearts and bodies.

Continue reading