March 1, 2010

I blog because I dive

NOTE: Thanks to Mary Ellen for reminding me to post this piece! Mary Ellen offers up her own answers as to why she blogs...

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When it comes to Quakerism, I like a spiritual kind of scuba diving, going deep into the waters of the faith. Blogging helps me in do that.

I started The Good Raised Up in 2005, over five years ago. I had started reading blogs the previous summer, mostly because a fFriend, Martin Kelley, told me about the online writing he had been doing. Martin and I had talked about our yearning for a Quakerism that was more intentionally rooted in and centered on the Spirit; I yearned to explore the Quakerism that exists beyond the Meeting for Worship and outside of the bounds of Meeting for Worship for Business.

I began reading Martin's blog and the few other Quaker blogs that existed "back then"--in the early 2000s, there were ten or twelve Friends worldwide, it seemed, who wrote Quaker blogs; now there are hundreds--and I found myself writing long comments and returning to the blog-world at least once a day to see others' responses. The comments led to a great deal of reflection and longer exchanges among those of us who were reading and writing Quaker blogs.

As the weeks turned into months of commenting on blogs--something like short letters to the editor of a very small, very local newspaper--I soon understood that the perspective and the "voice" that I was bringing to the online conversation was unique and [at that time] not well represented in the Quaker blogosphere. I contacted a Jewish woman who was writing a blog about her studies as a rabbinical student because I wanted to know her experience as a female blogger, and she encouraged me onward.

When I started The Good Raised Up, it was clear to me that I would be writing about the Quakerism that doesn't often get talked about in our meetings: the foundation of worship, the historic principles that guide our actions today as a faith community, and the traditions that seem to be endangered or otherwise are falling out of practice.

As a result, writing this blog has been a form of ministry, and I have appreciated the eldership that a few Friends have provided over the years. These blog-elders call me to account when I overstep or when I have reacted to others out of judgment. They also give me support to keep up the writing I've been doing, which encourages me to go deeper.

The deeper I dive into our history and tradition, the more I learn about the quirky Quakerism we practice.



Beth said...

Yes, I totally agree. Quaker blogging is a form of ministry and can lead to diving deep into spiritual exploration.

Karen said...

I'm so glad for your ministry. It always offers me something good and nourishing.

Liz Opp said...

Thanks for your comments as well as for your support. I've softened quite a bit over the years, realizing that not everyone likes to--or even has the capacity to--"go deep." I seem to be more the exception rather than the rule, at least in American society.

I believe I've made peace with what seems to be the reality: that most Americans, including Liberal Friends here, like a certain amount of "getting to know you" conversation that lasts well past we've gotten to know you!

Both shallow swimmers and deep-sea divers are needed, as well as everything in-between. What matters hasn't changed:

Do we love one another?
Do we love God?
Do we strive to be faithful to and in harmony with the prompts of the Loving Principle that guides us?


Mary Ellen said...

Liz, I enjoyed reading about the genesis of your blog, and also about the "early days" of Quakers blogging. I for one appreciate your faithfulness to the elements of Quaker roots and practice, as I increasingly see them as resources for life and community-building - though I have a lot of work to do to be able to respond consistently in faithful and loving action.