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.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Sin, Separation, Mono-culturalism and Quaker violence.

Or feed my ducks…

A duck walks into a chemists shop.
“Good day sir…”

Good day to you, Mr. Duck…”

“Have you got any duck food?”

“Why, no, you must have missed our sign, sir, this is a chemists shop. We sell drugs.”

“Ah, thank you and good day to you sir,” and the duck walked out.

The next day he is back…

“Good day, have you any duck food?”

“Why, no, sir. As I said yesterday, we sell drugs… no duck food.”

The next day the same… and now the druggist is getting annoyed.

The next day, the same question. This time the druggist leans over the counter…
“Look you! If you come in here one more time asking for duck food, I am going to nail you to this counter by your big flat feet!!!!!”

The next day the door cracks open… white feathered wing , then a beak, a head, he looks both ways and a foot, then he is in the shop…

“Eh, hem… eh… good day sir…”

“Good day…” the druggist responded with caution and a hint of threat…

“Emmm… ahhh… have you… any….. Nails?”


Big grin on the ducks face and a sigh of relief, “Got any duck food?”

Oh friends and Friends, dear dear ones…

Have ye read about the riots over the cartoon of Mohammed? Are we not in the same place? This is why I think all this will not work out well for humanity. God gave many of us a yearning for mono-culturalism. In our nature, some of us seek the comfort of being surrounded by a world without question and conflict. Then God set up a world where diversity was law, and then gave humanity a need to wander and become diverse. God created a world where there will never be a world without question and conflict, even when, likely soon, we humans, together commit the sin of self destruction. We will be gone, and question and conflict will survive. The hungry animal will ask himself is this good to eat and… ? Oh we are such silly, foolish apes, we humans. Did God make a mistake by not going the way of Neanderthals? Tradition came easily to them… they stayed in one place, the ultimate mono-cultural humans. But, then again, they died out. Who knows? Not I?

Our divisions in the Society of Friends are the same event as the sin of the Danish publisher, and the sin of the Muslim rioter, each believes in the sin of the other.

The rioter says thee has sinned against me by making an image of the Prophet. The publisher says thee has sinned against me, as I treasure the right of individual expression. The publisher says why do you come to my country if thee will not accept our freedoms. The rioter says why do you invite me into thy nation and tell me your body is welcome but not thy soul… and who of either seeks unity in God, but both seek to defend their images. One the image of free expression, the other of the right to be free of insult. Both wish to be loved on their own terms alone.

A Friend on her blog wrote that she wishes to test a leading to dress plain. Oh dear fFriend. I know a few plain Quakers and frankly, I am not sure if we all seek the release of symbols in our plain witness or seek the false God of tradition. Our dark coats without collars are beginning to represent to me, more of a lack of adoration of that of God in each other, than a lack of adornment. Few of the plain Friends I know seem to treasure unity in God. They seem to believe in a hyper attention to those traditions to which they are drawn, while rejecting the process of clearness, and this seems to me to be stark and unloving. As Hamlet said, “it is not alone this inky cloak, good mother, nor customary suits of solemn black…”

Such attention to dress as a statement, without clearness, without love, seems to me to be a hollow reaching back to false tradition, not the expression that our clothes reflect our rejection of the symbols of fashion, to trade a slavery to fashion to a new slavery to tradition. Slavery as we loose the freedom born of love.

I am both the rioter and the publisher. As the rioter, I ask fFriends to think about the images they use to insult the history of Jews. As the publisher, I ask the question and fFriends to whom the image of Jesus is sacred respond in anger and hate filled emails and cold, cold, cold, hearted silence, a silence to which a grave seems a warm comfort in comparison. But, there in the grave, there is the final world without ambiguity and questions. As a Quaker I call for clearness, and many fFriends say no, I am content to publish, and riot. And in all this, all the rioting and publishing, God asks, remember me? I’m not where thee seeks nor the things thee defends, I am not even in the cold comfort of thy grave.

I may be more the duck than the druggist. I ask to be fed of that which God tells me will sustain me, love, and the druggist offers nails. And, I? The stronger the druggist proclaims the wares of his faith, the more my hope, but not my faith wanes. Friends tell me not to seek love in humans, but seek love in God, and yet, it is that of God in others where we see the most present face of God’s love, and where we as fFriends are called by faith to reveal God’s face to each other.

All I can do is ask, “got any nails”… and we are not saved.


Post a Comment

<< Home