September 1, 2008

Quakers and politics (RNC)

There has been lots going on in my town, as Paul L reports better than I could.

I agree with Paul that the called Meeting for Worship was deep, rich, and in a word, covered. It mattered little that a number of worshipers spoke twice; that questions (and answers) were interspersed in the worship; that Friends trickled in throughout the hour and even after worship broke.

In our own thick night of darkness, the LORD was felt.

I was moved to speak about remembering who is our Authority, who is it that we follow; and I offered up a bit of a prayer for strength that I might find a way to embrace even the police who seem to be asserting an authority that I cannot follow.

I also was struck when another Friend began singing the very same song that I had running through my own mind:

Ain't gonna let nobody turn me around
Turn me around
Turn me around
Ain't gonna let nobody turn me around
Gonna keep on a'walking, keep on a'talking
Marching down to Freedom's land
For those wishing updates and snippets about police response to protests and demonstrations, go to this Twitter-based website. It's updated frequently and the website helped me understand why the anti-war march was delayed in getting started and why buses stopped running through a certain part of town--both because of police activities in response to a "splinter" group of protesters.

(The big local newspapers have been spotty with their coverage thus far, in my opinion.)

On a related topic, I felt as though there has been a thread of a corporate response from the meeting. There was a sense of being gathered together in worship and out of a desire to companion the "well-respected member of our meeting" whom Paul L references, and to participate in the march that occurred today (Paul's post has links).

It was that sense of corporate action, corporate prayer, and corporate faithfulness that lifted me above my own anxieties and helped me attend the march, despite the 90-degree temperature and my propensity for heat exhaustion.


UPDATE, 5 Ninth Month 2008:
There is now a video clip from a press conference held by what has been known as the RNC Welcoming Committee. It addresses topics such as who is and who isn't anarchist or terrorist; conditions in jail for some protesters; and questionable police raids. NOTE: I don't know how long the link will be active.


RichardM said...

I know you have a concern for maintaining Quaker traditions of ministry and eldering, so I must note that the opportunity which you mentioned. "I also was struck when another Friend began singing the very same song that I had running through my own mind." I hope you went to this Friend and told them what happened so as to encourage them in their ministry.

Liz Opp said...

Yes, Richard, I did approach the Friend and told him of my experience.

So much of how the meeting responded over the course of nearly a week went very well: I believe we struck the right balance between acting on what was important and Spirit-led, and disciplining ourselves to NOT act out of a sense of urgency or fear.