Thursday, January 15, 2009
Although Chuck Fager (cf QuakerQuaker.org) 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
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
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.