June 29, 2005

Some last minute reading

Before heading to the FGC Gathering, I'm doing what I can to catch up with web-reading. Here are some snippets and summaries.

A new Quaker blog, Riding the Whale, has an important post about rites of passage among Friends. Be sure to poke around in Danny's other posts, too, where he mentions, for example...

Friendly Pilgrim. This website has some interesting things to say about aspects of a pilgrimage, other words and concepts related to pilgrimage as a rite of passage, etc. The link Aspects of Pilgrimage reminds me of some of what I hope to be addressing in the Gathering workshop about Quaker identity. Very exciting!

I'm also about halfway through the new Philip Gulley & James Mulholland book, If God Is Love. I came across this quote, which reminded me of a comment Robin M. had made elsewhere (I'm not even gonna look for where that comment is, at this point):

God has no grandchildren. My children cannot inherit my faith. I can't save them. Each of us is on a journey. My role as a parent is not to convert my children, but to live a life consistent with my experience of God's radical love and trust that such a life will attract them... I do this realizing the paths my children choose may not be mine. My response to their choices is not to panic or control, but to love them unconditionally, as God loves me.
Blessings,
Liz

UPDATE: Here's another interesting post, at Consider the Lilies, about young Friends, being Quaker in name or in practice, and asking some Really Big Questions.

7 comments:

Robin M. said...

Okay, here's another one:

several months ago in meeting for worship, I had my three year old son in my lap, my six year old next to me. Both squirming and distracting me and probably everybody else around us, neither one wanting to be any farther away from me.

I was remembering that when my older boy was born about 8 weeks early, the doctors said that in fact the best thing we could do for our baby was called kangaroo care, to hold him skin to skin, and that his body would learn to regulate his temperature from our warmth, his breathing from having us breathe on him, his heart beating from feeling the rhythmn in our chests.

I wondered if the best way to teach (my) children about meeting for worship was to have them so close that they could feel the love of God radiating out from (me).

Have you ever sat next to someone in meeting for worship who helps you center down just by the strength of their own worship?

Am I faithful enough to the promptings of the Spirit in meeting for worship that I am able to help my children?

Can I learn to be that kind of person in time to help my own children?

How perfect does my practice have to be?

Who else will help my/our children to feel the power of meeting for worship?

Rob said...

Hi Liz,

Welcome back! For those of us who couldn't attend FGC, we're anxiously waiting to hear how it went. I hope it was a challenging and uplifting experience. I keep checking the usual suspects, and have only heard from Claire at Spiritual Journeys as to how things went. Rest up. - Rob

Peterson Toscano said...

Hope you made it home safely. I look forward to reading your posts about FGC (no pressure).

Amanda said...

Robin, I love your comment so much. I have sat beside such Friends, the ones who are so strongly aware of the presence of God I may be too cluttered to notice. In fact I have felt a "wave of gathering" travel down a meeting bench once when there were several Friends like that surrounding me.

I know this idea is going to stay with me until I have children some day. Thank you.

Being reminded of this effect makes me remember my responsibility to those I am worshiping with. If I am distracted and unhappy and just waiting out the time, I usually think "Well, I'm the only one affected". Of course, that's not true.

Love,
Amanda

Zija said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Liz Opp said...

First off, the above comment was deleted because it was an ad.

Second, thanks for the encouragement for me to post, now that I'm back home. It's going to take me a while, since I am still tired and integrating the week at Gathering.

But for now, I'll post some facts:

• There were about 1,600 Friends from Canada, the U.S., Rwanda, and a few other countries.

• Highlights for me included the high-school sponsored Meeting for Worship, the plenary provided by John Shelby Spong, and the intergenerational interest group I attended.

• There was an important public witness made, called "Let Love Choose," about marriage equality. It could have been better attended, but FGC leadership and an ad hoc committee from Friends for LGBTQ Concerns busted their butts to pull it off!

• Weather was mostly delightful, with low humidity and temperatures in the mid-80s. I don't think we saw a day over 90, except the first day. And we had one wicked day of rain, when tropical storm Cindy made its way across the state.

• There is on-going discussion, at least among a few small groups or between individuals, about the place of the "Quaker sweatlodge workshop" at the Gathering.

• The 2006 Gathering is planned to be in Tacoma, Washington and will be curtailed by one day, to ensure there is enough travel time for Friends from the east coast to make the trip (think Philadelphia, New England, and Baltimore Yearly Meetings). Unfortunately, the registration will be closed at 1,200—400 fewer Friends than were here this year. It is a grand experiment to hold a Gathering so far west, but I think Friends from Canada and the west cost of the U.S. will help sell out the '06 Gathering in no time! The theme is "Swimming in Living Waters."

• I had brief and very brief opportunities to talk with fellow Quaker bloggers Peterson, Claire, and Martin. Very cool.

More later, as Way opens. But first, I'm still catching up on my sleep!

Blessings,
Liz

Robin M. said...

Welcome back, dear Liz.

Sleep well and write soon.

Peace,
Robin