Official, Officiant, Prophet

From the stories of Moses and the prophets who followed him, we learn of three major tasks of a prophet.  Put very simply, the prophet’s first task is to discover the law; the second task is to show how the law can–or must–be put into practice; and the third task is to make spirit available.
-Bill Taber. The Prophetic Stream, Pendle Hill Pamphlet #256.  (1984).  Wallingford, PA: Pendle Hill.

Perhaps the role of the sport official is to be a prophet on the field of play.  The tasks are similar:  the official must learn the laws of the game, then s/he shows, corrects and instructs the competitors how to put them into practice.  The third–and I think summative–task is to make the spirit of the game available to all in the arena.  I’m less certain about this third task of the referee, so I’ll write more about it here.

No one else in the arena represents the sport itself as certainly and purely as the officials.  The competitors are bound up in love for their team, the need to prove themselves and the desires to win or to represent the school or city.  Coaches want to develop, protect and promote the athletes and team that they work for.  The spectators are typically motivated by love for an individual or perhaps the whole team.  The referee knows none of that.  Continue reading

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

Simplicity and learning transfer

I found a lesson one Saturday last summer, but the learning didn’t crystallize until two days ago.  The Greek Orthodox Church in Beaverton held their annual festival on a day when I was in Portland helping Linda set up for dye workshop.  Helping her leaves me free to roam in the cIcons, screen and carvingity or its surroundings during the middle of the day.

I went to the Greek festival for the food and dancing, but there found the booth where the Orthodox clerics explained their faith.  One of their deacons, named Innocent in the church, was open to drawing contrasts with my faith.  We spoke for fifteen or twenty minutes.  He mentioned that he’d be giving a tour of their meeting room and a talk on their form of worship later. Continue reading

What does Beanite mean?

 Is there a coherence to Western Independent Friends?   Are we different from other Liberal Quakers?

I’m interested in views from those inside, as well as outside of the three Western Independent Yearly Meetings–Pacific, North Pacific and InterMountain. What have visitors and sojourners sensed among Beanites?

What’s the historical perspective?  Do the five sentences of the first discipline of the College Park Association of Friends offer anything distinctive?

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

More autobiography in outline form

This entry follows on after the 2/6/2011 blog entry about what I said in a spiritual autobiography for the meeting two weeks ago.

Short on time, I skipped:
My call to return to the Northwest
The years in one of the small meetings in College Park Quarterly Meeting
A year in therapy
Firbank Farm

I did speak aElfrida Fouldsbout my journey to being a Christian and what God has opened to me.
•    Grandma’s serene and helpful history in her Presbyterian church
•    Friends’ School classes in Human Studies
•    High school friends in the charismatic movement
•    Seeking to experience that of God within me and others
•    His reassurance: I’ve been here all along.
•    YF’s I met on the Quaker Youth Pilgrimage, Elfrida, the Wilsons, Lionel, the 1652 country
•    my brother’s challenges to honestly engage with the issues of Christian myth and spirituality
•    reading the YFNA newsletter
•    Ben’s invitation to fellowship with WYF Christians
•    All your strength and cleverness is nothing next to my loving power; even so, my help is there for the everyday challenges you face.  This is salvation. Continue reading

Outline of a spiritual autobiography

Two weeks ago I spoke to our meeting on my spiritual autobiography.  The meeting does several of these a year, provided there are willing volunteers.

I began by explaining that I’d grown up in a nearby unprogrammed Friends meeting which was rather similar to our meeting.  That I had become a Christian by convincement and that I would be trying faithfully to make the session one of sharing history and insights with my Friends, not an evangelical project.  I explained that my language would be Christian, as that matches best what’s in my heart.

Then I opened up to questions, answers or topics people wanted to hear about.  As I proceeded through my outline, I paid attention to those parts of it that might address those interests.

Here are the points I had written as an outline.  I haven’t expanded these in writing, but might someday.  If you’re interested in one or two, please ask for details, make suggestions or offer your related experiences in a comment.

  • Childhood in an unprogrammed meeting.  The influences of that community and some of those Friends. Continue reading

Cucumbers, Advent and immanence

Yesterday, I finished the last of the cucumbers from our garden.  Or most of it.  The end bit was starting to soften.  I like cucumbers.  Especially the long, skinny kind that cost a dollar or so at the supermarket.  That’s why we grow them–because they’re good and because I’m too cheap to buy them.

The cucumber waCukess the last.  We had saved it in the fridge for weeks.  The last of the tomatoes was appreciated a few weeks ago.

Now we enter a new season.  We start figuring out whether to spring for supermarket cukes, or rely on the less preferred celery sticks.  Will our kale and broccoli yield anything to eat?  How soon?  How much of that box of Fuji apples we got from some friends with an orchard will last for fresh eating?  How much should we sauce?

The autumn sports seasons have finished.  Two local football teams just lost their last games yesterday.  The scholastic soccer teams played out the season not so many days ago.  The election is over, with mixed results around here.  Students have settled into routines of behavior and misbehavior at school.  They are learning.  Last week I started to observe systematically to see how much.  Rains have set in, most days.  Nights can get cold.  We’ve even had our first snowfall on the valley floor–early this year.  Outdoor exercise is harder to find in comfort.

So what’s next?  Is this all there is?  All there will be?  Where do we find glory, or even sufficiency?  Will the days ever stop getting shorter? Continue reading