Monday, June 26, 2006


I'm off tonight. Taking the train to Portland to visit some friends, then down to Tacoma at the end of this week for FGC Gathering.

I've been dreading it a little bit, leaving my hectic life to the wolves for a bit, I leave in 12 hours and I'm not packed yet. It will be an interesting time.

I have been disappointed with Gathering, I am coming to realize. There are wonderful things about it, but difficult things as well. I'm not sure if it's just that it's so darn big, or what, but I rarely feel really spiritually grounded there. The food in the dining hall is far from simple, we use a lot of resources, paper napkins, gas, electricity, water. I bring these things up to people and often hear something along the lines of "but it's hard to do it another way" - wow, I think, is this what we've come to? quakers who, as a body, don't want to do anything "hard"???

I'm not claiming to be any better. I'm pretty lazy myself, let alone cowardly. I just would like to see us live up to our light, though I don't know how to spur a grand movement....

I am excited to meet some fellow bloggers for the first time, and about various other things this trip - I love the pacific northwest! I haven't been to gathering since is was in Johnstown - how long ago was that??

See some of you there.


Saturday, June 24, 2006

sacred and profane

So, "Thee, Hannah!" has a few different blogs these days, mostlly one for "quaker stuff" and one for "less serious stuff" (my words, not hers - I think)

and I wonder about that. There's certainly stuff I want to write about that doesnt' feel as "quaker" as what other bloggers write, and yet, I'm a quaker all the time - not just when I'm meditating or being righteous.

There is definitely stuff I won't write about here, and I'm not sure why not. Stuff about love, sex, romantic relationships, dealing with crazy people.....

Now if I ever find a way to be all HOLY about these things, I might write about it - but right now I'm just muddled and sad. And well, a little crazy. It's "not appropriate" - but isnt' all of us in God, all the time? If we don't feel God there isnt' it a call to seek, rather than to shut off that part of our life as somehow outside spirit???

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Happy Solstice!

When I was in elementary school at Germantown Friends, the teachers would sit us down before a holiday meeting and remind us that "Happy Thanksgiving was not an appropriate message for meeting for worship. I'm not sure what I think about that, but I seem to be ignoring it (not that blogging is meeting for worship.)

It's solstice, the day with the most light in all the year in the northern hemisphere. As I mentioned recently, I'm not much of a pagan in any mainstream (?) sense, but I am finding that the holidays mean something to me, and noticing them matters.

I live in Minnesota, where this thing is pretty noticeable. I have trouble with depression in winter, when I can go days without seeing the sun if I'm not careful. I spent a semester of college in norway, where there were maybe 3 hours of sunlight a day by the time I left in December. I slept a LOT.

We really need sunlight, for everything, life is pretty much entirely based on it. When it's in scarce supply it's sort of like when you're a little kid and you can't find your parents in the grocery store, but way, way, scarier (or can be)

Today is, in a way, our day to be most alive. Revel in abundance. In six months we will be celebrating that dark times get light again, but now we can just celebrate light, I'm just planning a picnic for tonight, when it will be light until after 9pm. It's a good thing.

Monday, June 19, 2006

"Locovore" Moment

I think today was the first day this year that I ate a meal largely composed of something that I picked today. My friend (and ex) was very exuberant this year about planting kale, and apparently had a gift for the growing of the kale and is slightly overwhelmed. My dinner tonight consisted of her kale (mmm), black beans and onions. (her recipe as well!)

Now, everything but the kale not only wasn't picked today, I could not tell you when or where it was picked, which is sorta scary if you think about it.

Also, my baby cherry tree (finally as tall as me this summer!) seems to have had its grand moment of production (almost 2 pints) this year, peaking a few days ago. I have eaten some cherries off the tree, but they are tart and small and I think best suited to pies. I am waiting for my sweetie to return home (in one hour!) as she is a significantly more inspired baker than I.

that might be it for a while. I have some nappa cabbage growing, and some chard that might someday be big enough to eat, and tomatoes, but they're a late summer thing (I have a few flowers!) and eggplant and butternut squash. We shall see.

My first CSA delivery is tomorrow! I can't wait to see what's in the box!!!

(PS - Robin introduced me to the term "locovore" in a comment on an earlier post - the idea being to intentionally eat local foods. I had chocolate chips for dessert. I dont' know where they come from, but I'm sure it's not local, not even national, for the most part)

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Dog! (grossout alert)

I can't remember where but I recently commented somewhere something about dogs being closer to God because they don't ask so many questions and worry so much, they just ARE.

This was much in my mind when I walked to the river today with my 3 dogs, and the youngest got distracted from fetching sticks by the delightful discovery of a dead fish. I picked the thing up with a stick and tossed it as far as I could out into the river, and moved on. My beloved dog then proceeded to swim out and retrieve it, bring it back to shore, and roll on it until its guts spurted out.

He doesnt' like baths with the hose, by the way, but he's an in-the-moment sort of guy, and that was still over 20 minutes away. Who knows if he'll ever make the connection?

Is he missing something, or am I????

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Diggers, 2006

Edit 6/15: finally found their website

I was really saddened to hear on "Democracy Now!" today that protesters trying to protect an urban community farm which fed a number of poor local residents were removed by police.

I have been wanting to "think of something" to say about where I find the core of my spirituality, my quakerism. I think that I am doing a lot of preemptive self-censorship, because I don't think my answers will "fly"

But this is part of it. I suspect that I am actually more of a digger than a quaker, except diggers only "lasted" a few years.

And these folks seem to me to be very much modern diggers (I learned about the 17th century English ones through a song sung on a benefit cd for The Highway 55 encampment in Minneapolis a few years ago.)

Now, many of the modern folks aren't doing this from a christian, or even overtly "spiritual" motivation. They are "only" worried about things like justice. Of course, many of them are doing it because it's inherent in their christian (or other) faith.

I have often said that I'm a pagan quaker, but never without hesitation and some sort of stilted attempt at further explanation. It fits because my faith is in and of the earth, and the ecosystem, in life. It doesn't fit at all because I'm not a Wiccan. I could care less about Chalices and Blades and all that.

These protests are part of the core of my faith. That land should be wild, and when used for human purposes it should be minimally, ethically, and fairly, to sustain life (not for more shopping malls, condos, wealth, or faster commutes).

The sacred oak trees that they cut down to reroute highway 55, even though I never saw them, are my scripture, as is the air that I breathe, the water I swim in and drink, and the food that I eat.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Core Understanding

Chris M of Tables, Chairs and Oaken Chests is working on Describing Quaker Faith" and asks us all,

"What do you think? What is your core understanding? Where do you find the Life, the Truth, and the Way?"

I am uncomfortable with the fact that I have no clue. Well, not no clue, but glimpses of one that don't match up with words too well.

But I don't want to "let myself off the hook" - this is the important stuff. This is what I want to talk about instead of the idea that my lack of Jesus/God/Worship is "THE PROBLEM" with modern liberal quakerism.

So, just keeping it out there. My spiritual confusion is naked before you.

"No Meat, 30 Bosses"

Ok, that most likely won't make sense to anyone who never worked at the New Riverside Cafe, a now-defunct, collectively run vegetarian cafe in Minneapolis (from about 1972 to 1997?) I was a member of the collective from 1991 to 1993. It was a rich and most often maddening experience.

When they asked in my interview if I had any experience with consensus decision making I said, "well, I went to quaker school, and they made us do it in fourth grade" apparently close enough.

What I remember most there was the constant struggle to get 25-30 people who had grown up in the "real world" to really live into a system where they were responsible for their own work.

Our slogan, at some points was, "No Meat, No Bosses!" - which I liked very well. But consistently, various people would embrace the attitude of "no boss! great!! I guess I can come in late and slack off and no one will pester me!"

So, we discussed in collective meetings that it needed to be more like "30 bosses" than "no bosses" - that we needed to hold each other accountable, and take our own responsibilities seriously. The idea worked on some of us, slowly, but many simply wanted to see how long they could collect a paycheck before even their easygoing hippie friends would can their a**es.

I hear quakers here and there yearning for "leadership" - more and more questioning of the idea of not having paid ministers (or designated ministers at all? which I think is a distinction that we lost somewhere along the way...) many of us are perhaps feeling a bit like we're wandering in the wilderness, and we're hoping someone else will show up with a compass.

I value greatly the immanency of quaker faith - that no one is closer to God than another (well, that's part of my interpretation anyway).

The equality of it all can feel like quite a mess. Someone on Quaker-L recently admonished listmembers for failing to call a fellow listmember on something that most of us would say was clearly a delusion (but how do you ever know? Maybe God doesn't work the way that it seemed to you God did?) It is hard to stand up to each other and say "you are wrong" - or to find a way to say "that does NOT speak to my condition" in a way that furthers and deepens connection, rather than cutting it off.

I do not want hireling priests. I do not want hierarchies of power or holiness. And yet some do seem to be more organized, or to have greater insight into the truth of the spirit. Living with no bosses, no priests, feels much less stable, much less safe (a bit like being an orphan?) and yet it is so much more true (as far as I know) - it is worth living into the flux and chaos, in which is maybe found perfection.

That of God (even in unbelievers?)

This started out as a comment on the last post (about blue, but the comment wasnt', but about a comment I'd posted on Martin's Blog in response to a post that upset me.

I feel like I've had about 10 post about this already, but apparently I'm not done.

There seems to be a something going on in liberal quakerism these days - a frustration with complacency, with emptily going through the motions, with a sort of spiritual shallowness.

I have found over and over again that something in me surges when I hear others talk about the need to go deeper, to explore our faith as quakers, perhaps even to be willing to let go of empty forms (I don't think I've heard anyone say that phrase, but a sense that we now worship quaker practice, and have lost the original "point")

And then it falls to the ground, crushed, because what they're really talking about is their desire to convert or get away from me. Nasty, shallow, clueless heathen that I am.

I feel like in many ways I am as "fervent" as early quakers - just not about Christ (or not about the name, Jesus Christ) - this is one of the things about this vein that really stabs at me. I do feel like I, and perhaps we as a society, are called to go deeper, be braver, throw off the shackles of complacency. And yet, most of those who use this language, which I find exhilirating, are simply talking about bringing "Jesus" back into it. I am seriously baffled by this, because, living in the US, I am surrounded by people who throw around the word "jesus" with what would appear to me to be NO spiritual, compassionate, "fervor" whatsoever - it comes across either as simple brainwashing, or the lust to see other people burn in hell most often, in my opinon....

Clearly, if the Society of Friends is missing something, some connection to spirit, some passion, it is not that we don't say the word "Jesus" enough.

Now, the space to say the word "Jesus" if that's how spirit is revealed to you is another thing. I am aware that in recent times (I don't really know for how long) there have been people leaving meeting both because Jesus and the Bible are way to prevalent (for their tastes) in ministry, and others because when they say the name "Jesus", or quote the Bible, people come up and chastise them afterwards.

I have found myself yearning for a true shift, basically just towards a state where we take "seeing that of God in each other" seriously. And I have to say, that no non-theist I have ever met has had any problem with that concept (well, implementing it, maybe) I myself mean something by "God" - it's just so different from the definition that I grew up with, that calling myself a theist feels like a lie.

This has come up for me mostly in my work at my meeting on an ad-hoc committee for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex, Queer and Allies concerns (phew!) - where we are (well, I should only talk for myself, I am) finding that the meeting wants to be "supportive" - but doesnt' seem to want to hear too much about it, to go too deep. Issues that we haven't yet "dealt with" as a meeting come up, and reactions are, well, reactive. And I find myself wondering, what if we all REALLY focused first on responding to that of God in each other, seeing the differences between us as ground to be explored, something to be learned, but not a barrier (at least not until they actually prove themselves to be, - then what do we do? I don't know, but at least we could start out assuming connection, beyond differences)

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Just because it's so important

You Are Indigo

Of all the shades of blue, you are the most funky, unique, and independent.
Expressing yourself and taking a leap of faith has always been easy for you.