What was your experience for applying for membership? Why did you do it when you did?Here's the text of the letter I sent to the monthly meeting, requesting membership under their care:
What are some of your favorite questions from any membership clearness committee in which you participated?
I am writing you to request membership, and for the Meeting to provide oversight, care, and nurture for my membership.
Why do I seek membership now, after 7-plus years of involvement among Quakers, including more than five years at another Friends Meeting?
Well, one morning a few weeks ago I woke up and heard myself say to myself, “I’m ready to request membership.” Another morning, shortly afterward, I woke up and asked myself, “Would I have regrets if I died tomorrow and had not requested membership?” and the answer came back, “Yes.”
And so what is my struggle, what do I wrestle with, and what shadows do I wish to bring out into the light as I request membership?
One. I fear losing my identity, that I will be clumped in with all the other Quakers, thereby in a sense erasing my history with the Friends Meeting where I originally attended as a young adult.
Two. I fear and resist being placed in the same small box of assumptions, presumptions, and preconceptions that I have been placing on some Quakers. I don’t seem to have such worrisome assumptions about all Quakers, though.
Three. My heart, in many ways, still belongs to the Meeting where I first attended. At times I miss these Friends terribly.
Four. I want to define MY membership and participation among Quakers MY way. Ahh, the adolescent within me is alive and well.
Five. I am not feeling ready to surrender to this “awakening.” I still wrestle with God about it.
Six. I wish to honor my Jewish upbringing, and I am still in the process of resolving being a Jewish Quaker. Sometimes when I say, “I’m Quaker,” I feel I am betraying my Jewish heritage. Saying “I’m a Jewish Quaker” doesn’t feel entirely right either.
While there is much more about my 7+ years of involvement among Quakers that I could include here, I’ll leave the rest of it for the clearness process, and for any personal conversations with me that are to follow.