Plain in the city

A plain Quaker folk singer with a Juris Doctorate in his back pocket, salt in his blood, and a set of currach oars in the closet, Ulleann Pipes under his arm, guitar on his back, Anglo Irish baggage, wandering through New York City ... in constant amaze. Statement of Faithfulness. As a member of the Quaker Bloggers Ad Hoc Committee I affirm that I will be faithful to the Book of Discipline of my Meeting 15th Street Monthly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Quakers and Separation and Fear

Seems to be a recurrent theme these days, separation and fear. We proclaim ourselves present to God in each other. I believe we are, this does not mean we know how to do it. I've had a week of painful openings, and many emails. I felt the pain in some of the emails, read expressions of rejection and expressions of anger. I've written things to others in anger, and some Friends wrote to me about my courage to raise questions which were in their hearts.

There is no courage in this. These questions are simply not escapable for me at some point, and if some Friends are angry or pained by the asking, the examination, feel personally attacked... we've experienced some bit of the Quaker wars that we seem to fight in spite of our desire to be present to each other. Quaker process broke down, in some of these divisions a long time ago, and I can't demand others to come to the process, further it is for each of us to ask if we ARE separated from process or not, and more, that Friends divide one from the other in fear or anger, happens, just happens. I would have us promise each other to come to process, but sometimes, Friends just can't, and like any other letting go, well,just can't find the way to find the process, but aside fear, ego, all the traps of "I", I want, I am, and the other twin of the "You are" ... So, I, so we, take these lumps, my and our longings for peace, and unity, and well... that's life. We can't heal another, or bring another to the water of life, it is there the moment any of us wish it, we might ask it of another, but it is for them to give it.

Our belief that a Peaceable Kingdom, even for just we Quakers, has proved and is proving to be as imperfect as any other utopian dream. I still cling to a commitment to it, to my own Lamb's War for my own heart, in my own heart, in my soul, and open arms to others to join in that... but with each year I have to learn a new degree of acceptance and sometimes disappointment, disappointment in myself and others. And the sting of rejection, that never becomes less of a surprise, no matter how familier.

I have been weighing ending this blog, even deleting it, as electronic communication is becoming accepted by some, as knowledge of people they never met, a blief that they know the soul, the heart, of another... but I don't find it to be the case. Perhaps I am being drawn to a deeper simplicity, or I am simply afraid. And yet, if we do not learn to speak, to many together, in this new manner, I fear there is not much hope that we can be among the voices of hope or peace, which are now so needed in the future.

This question also remains open, as do a thousand other new questions this week. All these questions cut deeply to my sense of whom I am... I have always felt I am only the me I am at this point in the road, never complete, never going to know who I will be, even, always learning who I was. Others seem to be certain of these judgements, if not about themselves, then about others... I'm less certain then they seem to be...

So, for now, at least for now... I am weighing the value of this thing which has opened my heart to some things, and closed some hearts at the same time.

I have found it easier, this past few weeks, to communicate with some who wish us violent harm, for our desire for peace in these warlike times, than I have found it to communicate with we who dedicate ourselves to peace.

Some who might think I am angry at them, may be wrong others right. All should know that I never consider any final judgement in anger, only in love, and that judgement, that I love you, even sometimes in the error of anger, well, only love will endure.


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