Sunday, August 9, 2009


My apologies to Haiku purists:

Simplicity is
A thought of five, seven, and
Five syllable lines

A simple life is
Not living within one’s mean
But meaningful life

Smile and share yourself
Say hello with joy and bring
Some rays of the Light

Joy is sharing life
With others who expect you
To just be yourself

Quaker grey was once
Simply worn, but uniforms
Now are denim blue

Praying is reaching
Out with open heart, reaching
In with open mind

Friday, August 7, 2009

Tower of Babel rewrite

I still am struggling with the darkness that is still with me. However, I have decided to resume blogging, but with a different premise that may help me get through the next few months.

I intend to share items that I have written previously, some from many years ago and some a little more recently. Some of these postings will be about education, many will be specifically related to Friends education. In some circumstances I may post these items in two other locations, Virtual Friends School group, as well as

In trying to help myself, and possibly others, I have tried to retell some Biblical stories in "current" situations. One of those attempts, still needing revision, is the story of the Tower of Babel ( Gen 11:1-9) Part of the irony of my retelling is that I promote the development of students' own discipline and to take responsibility for their own education. However, the danger of self-centeredness is always present when individuals are encouraged to develop their independence.

Once upon a time all of the students at the Babylonian Friends School were required to attend assemblies. These students wandered the hallways but eventually reached the auditorium and began to settle down. They said to each other "Come let us decide to do our important work for classes that is to be graded." Some of them even decided to talk to each other rather than listen to the assembly. "Come" they said "Let us each decide our own education. Let us each build our own group to serve our own needs as we see them right now. Our knowledge exceeds those who make the decisions in this school. Let us make a name for ourselves and control our own destiny, or they may even make us listen to other things or learn to discipline ourselves." Then the teachers recognized the age-old "I'm Number One," and the attitude the students had developed. They said, "Here they are in an assembly or meeting designed to bring them together and provide growth, and now they have started to put themselves above the assembly. Henceforward they will have a hard time deciding to not put themselves above anyone, including teachers, parents, and employers. So let us point out to them what happens when confusion controls the school and one group does not and in fact can not understand what other students or groups are saying. Let them see what happens when students and others do not have respect for each other. Let them see that individuals or groups who place themselves above others find it difficult, if not impossible, to communicate with the whole community. They find it easy to fall into the trap of prejudice against races, beliefs, religions, and people who are different than they are.

"Moral" Without prejudice and self-centeredness people can communicate and work together to build towers of learning that do reach higher than any of their expectations. However, with prejudice and self-centeredness, confusion holds sway and advancement becomes slowed, if not completely destroyed.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Still Struggling

Although I have commented relatively frequently on other people's blogs or quakerquaker posts, I have not posted a blog here for quite a while.

A Cloud of darkness still remains that is created by barriers that truthfully are beyond my control. I still find the presence of an ocean of light in most of my life. My family and current friends continue to provide a great deal of support but are unable, through no fault of theirs, to penetrate the darkness. I have known periods of darkness that seem to be internal and have been identified as minor bouts of depression, but this experience is much different. The beginnings looked like the cloud of darkness might overtake me, but through the trust and help of fFriends and especially family (with a great deal of support and love from my "better half," and that is not just an idle comment) I am clearly able to maintain connection with love, trust, and hope.

I have been working on taking down barriers and making openings for the Light and the Word, but this has still not been able to break through into "that" corner of my life. It apparently will be several months before any resolution of this darkness can be accomplished.

I regret the vagueness and obscurity of this post but I am unable to be any clearer due to unavoidable restraints placed on my comments. It is my intent to share much more when I am able. I trust that when the time comes any one who has had communication with me and continues to communicate with me will understand.

I have no true comprehension of the reason for posting this but I felt led to do so.

Forgive me my trespasses.

In Peace and Friendship,


Sunday, February 22, 2009

New Beginning

Within the last few weeks we have moved to Barnesville, Ohio in the Walton Retirement Home. The manner in which we made the connections to Walton certainly seem like true leadings. The time from preliminary inquiry to final decision was less than a month. We plan to make connections with Olney Friends School which is adjacent to Walton and to Stillwater Friends Meeting in Ohio Yearly Meeting Conservative.

There is still a major "cloud of darkness" which persists in my life, but it is with trust that we move forward with new surroundings. Walton is certainly simple by the standards of many Friends retirement places but we appreciate the simplicity and quietness which also provides an affordable place to live.

We have been spending a good deal of time in settling into our new location but I am feeling a renewed sense of involvement with Friends and my own Search. I hope to write a few posts from time to time.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Peace Efforts

Although Chuck Fager (cf makes several good points about expectations about the Peace Conference, I feel at least 2 things were missing, at least to some degree.

 1) I believe the call to take away the occasion for wars is still a valid effort on the part of Friends when social action is taken on a local, national and international level with respect to communication and positive efforts (even if they may be very small compared to the war machine). [What was Margaret Mead's observation on big changes coming only from small dedicated groups?]

2) The efforts of FCNL on some of the concerns shared by the Peace Conference have been heard and have made at least some impact and I don't think they can be ignored. 

Monday, January 5, 2009

Soaring in the Sun and Light

Yesterday in Meeting I felt that nature was a reflection of my own spiritual situation. Our meeting is held on the 4th floor of a building on the Denison U campus which itself sits on a hill overlooking a shallow valley. There are buzzards that occupy the valley. Yesterday was cool, but not cold, and a blanket of very low clouds hung over the valley. The buzzards usually soar over the valley on heated air rising over parts of the ground. 

Yesterday they stayed sitting on the roofs of the smaller campus buildings near by with little movement at all. It was as if the Spirit was blanketed and unmoving in me. I attributed this in part to my usual response to the Christmas blahs that I usually experience at this time of the year. Aside from the excitement and enjoyment of my family and the many blessings that are evident, I am discouraged by the commercialization, almost opposite approach to the holidays from the presence of Christ, and by the acts and statements of "christians" that do not represent the Spirit of Christ as shown in the Gospels or in the lives of many Christians in the past and even in the present. 

However, I was reminded of the times that the buzzards soared easily and seemingly without any effort high into the atmosphere. Even on very cold days when the sun was shining, there were small pockets of heat rising from buildings, parking lots, etc.   The buzzards required some effort to lift off from rooftops but several were able to soar in fairly tight circles for a remarkable length of time. Of course there were some birds that were unable to find the uplifts before the cold air and effort required they returned to a rooftop or a nearby tree. 

These natural events seemed to mirror the spiritual events in some meetings for worship in which I have participated. Sometimes there seems to be a damper on the meeting and I come away feeling as if there was no uplifting spirit present, at least from my perspective. At other times there seems to be a very clear sense of uplifting and spiritual leadings that are very evident in my own experience but don't seem to be evident in other participants. Some times the experience appears to include some others present who share after meeting similar leadings. However, of most significance in my spiritual journey have been those few, seemingly too few but real nevertheless, times when the entire meeting seems to be lifted together and soar for a significant time together. I believe these were what have been called "gathered" meetings. At those times essentially everyone present, without prompting, shared similar experiences during meeting and felt a true unity that continued through the "social" time at the rise of meeting.

I pray for the "sonshine" and do realize that even with the clouds surrounding me the sun is still there shining and enlightening those that perceive.

[Most of the particular clouds that surround me at this point are very real personal difficulties that are"oppressive" but are beyond my control at the moment and have been ongoing for almost 2 years.] 

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Ocean of Darkness

A new year and no new insights or light at the end of the tunnel.

A dark time for several reasons and so no blogging.

The one leading seems to be to withdraw from the Quaker blogosphere, since it does not seem to provide any real interaction and I seem to add very little if anything that prompts interaction.