Below is a roundup of blog posts on the 346th sessions of New England Yearly Meeting, which ended last Thursday. I found about a dozen posts, depending on how you count them. And I was going to write up little blurbs for each post, but decided quotes were less work.
Peterson Toscano of A Musing wrote two posts:
- “Among Friends”
Here is an idea of the kind of teens I’m talking about. What are their biggest complaints about the worship service with the 800 or so adults? That there is not enough silence and that the messages shared in the meeting for worship are too personal and light. The teens would rather spend most of an hour in total stillness and silence punctuated with a very few messages and plenty of time to contemplate these messages.
- “Yearly Meeting After Glow“:
The day after my show, Luke, one of the young people, stood up in business meeting and proposed that the Young Friends write a minute affirming their belief that God is in all people. He said that we need to send out the message to other meetings where young people are often silenced by policy and teaching against queer and questioning folks. Now that is love in action.
Your friendly neighborhood green anarchist quaker wrote in “‘There is no God’ at New England Yearly Meeting“:
- Another Friend sang an improvised song, which I think went like this: There is a God/His love surrounds me/There is no God/Our love surrounds us
Will T of Growing Together in the Light wrote two posts also:
- “Authentic speech and witness”
At the very beginning of his talk, [keynote speaker Lloyd Lee Wilson] said something like this, “It is not authentic to speak of something when it is clear that I do not posses it in my own life.” What follows is my reaction to that.
- “What canst thou say”
Whether reading it correctly or not, it [a section from the NEYM F&P draft chapter] pushed a button I hadn’t known I had until then. Using “What cans’t thou say?” as an invitation for an opinion or a justification for offering one seems to be fairly common among Friends. It seems to imply that all our opinions are important and that each of us should be ready to express them at any time. Unfortunately, that was not what George Fox was asking about when he asked the question…. Rather than being a justification for our ordinary opinions, it is a challenge to discipline ourselves to become obedient to God, to walk in the Light that God shows us, and then, when we know God’s voice, did we get what we say from God or from somewhere else.
Cat and Peter Chapin-Bishop of Quaker Pagan Reflections wrote four whole posts relating to NEYM:
I have never felt more included, more enfolded, by any worship, among any community, ever, than I felt by those fifteen or twenty minutes at the meeting tonight. The struggles of being an insider/outsider (which, perhaps, everyone feels in community) just fell away. Something about listening for the words that would speak to one another, rather than for ourselves as individuals, made it clear how little the things that divide us are.” (beppe wrote a post reflecting in part on the text that was read at the meeting Cat is talking about)
- “Boundaries of storytelling (More Cat at NEYM)”
The story of what I observed in the meeting for business is my story… but it’s not just my story. I am clear that it is valuable, and maybe vital, for humans to tell their stories. But I am not clear on where the lines ethically need to be.
- “Peter at NEYM”
I may be close to a breakthrough here. Christian vocabulary—the letter that kills—has been like a rotten tooth in my mouth for decades. I work around it when I can, but it makes me wince in pain when I bite down on it unexpectedly. And it’s sort of like I can feel the tooth wiggling in its socket now, and maybe it’s ready to come out. Yank the damn tooth, forget the words, then listen to the spirit and begin trying to talk about it afresh.” (kwakersaur wrote a post in response to some of these words)
- “Sustainable Light (Cat again)”
I felt as if Herne, the God of wild things whom I especially love, were very close to me several times as I moved about between worship sessions. It was not a verbal sense, and it was usually outside of worship rather than during it, but I almost felt as if He were walking next to me or behind me through the halls and across the campus. It was wild. It was also unexpected. I had concluded long ago that Pagan worship and Quaker worship, though complementary, are different. I don’t seek out the Pagan Gods when I’m in MFW (though sometimes they find me there).
- The idea is to get away from the everyday life, commune in nature and consider the higher things in life. So when I tell people I’m a TV critic here, they look at me with equal parts pity and disgust. Trying, once, to engage another Quaker on her TV habits, something I often do in various settings to collect information, all she said was ‘We don’t have a TV.’
Did I miss any?
For more real-world Quakerism, Chronicler’s Minutae, by clerk of in-session Ohio Yearly Meeting (Conservative) Seth Hinshaw, promises to be interesting.
The category icon uses a picture of World Gathering of Young Friends participants at the top of Pendle Hill in Lancaster, UK last August. I found it on the Ohio Valley YM newsblog. If anyone knows who took this picture, I’d like to ask them if they don’t mind me using it.