I wrote this title, and apparently nothing else, almost a month ago. What did I mean to write about?
Liz and I got together to last night to have a sort of in-person hashing out of some of these conservative/liberal/what are we called to as quakers? conversations in person. I was really glad we did it.
One thing that came up a LOT for me was the frustration I feel that I feel like I hear people say "we need to go deeper in our quakerism / spirituality" (which intrigues me) but then seemingly (to me) end up doing a very SHALLOW evaluation that tends to assume that christians have a deep spirituality and atheists have no spirituality. (an oversimplification, but one which I hope makes a point)
I think that the answers that you get when you ask "what is it like, being an atheist quakers?" or, "what is it like, being a christian quaker?" are much more intresting (assuming the person, regardless of doctrinal beliefs, is willing to "go deep") than the label we slap on ourselves.
I found when I first came out as a lesbian, I fit most people's stereotypes, and after hearing so much "ALL lesbians are vegetarians", "ALL lesbians don't wear makeup", "ALL lesbians are hippie radical feminists" I was SO excited! Wow! I've found my tribe!
Ha ha, it was not so (alas??) it's not true (!), and I find that of all the labels I regularly slap on myself, lesbian is one that I am least likely to try to build community around (quaker, animal rights activist, co-opper, green, are some that can work pretty well; east coaster, female, lesbian, vegetarian, Italian, atheist, are some that are almost entirely useless)
And, so I guess I've been wondering, and somewhat antagonistic, about what words are important here?
I find myself baffled when I, who have trouble labelling my spirituality, other than "quaker" (I'm atheist but not, pagan but not, even christian but not) but easily and fundamentally identify as an ardent spiritual seeker, feel dismissed by those who crave deepening (which I crave as well) because certain words don't come into my articulation of what that deepening is like for me.